Israel is a diverse society with people from more than 100 nations who speak many languages and represent a variety of religious, social and cultural traditions. Celebrating Israeli diversity through cultural and educational events is a good way to illustrate that Israel is not simply a nation in conflict. An Israel Fest or Israel Diversity Day can also provide opportunities for coalition building with groups whose members share the same or similar traditions. is also a great chance to ask other student groups to work with you on an event that relates to both Israel and their communities.
Examples of Israel’s Diverse Democracy
- The current Israeli Supreme Court (the region’s only independent judiciary) has a female chief justice and an Arab associate justice.
- Gay rights: Gays are free to serve in the IDF. Tel Aviv is considered the gay capital of Middle East.
- There are currently, 11 Arabs in the Knesset, including a former Deputy Speaker and former cabinet minister
- The majority of Israelis are of Middle Eastern descent (Mizrachi, Sephardi, or Arab)
- There is full freedom of press and freedom to criticize the government.
- Women have equal rights in Israel; Israel elected a female prime minister more than 40 years ago. There are currently 22 women serving in the Knesset
Israel Diversity Day/Israel Fest: Faces of Israel
- Teach students about Israel’s diversity by setting up tables for each Israeli minority at an event or in a public area.
- Hold an event celebrating Israel diversity, which could take place at an Israel Fest or Israel Peace Week. In addition to the program, you could serve Israeli food and play Israeli music to teach more about the culture.
- Raffle off prizes to students who come to the table or who participate in an activity.
- Try to engage campus minority/progressive groups in a discussion program about diversity.
Groups to Highlight Israeli Diversity Include:
- Middle Eastern Jews (Sephardim/Mizrachim)
- LGBT Israelis
- Indian Jews
- Ethiopian Jews
- Arab-Israelis (Druze, Christian, Muslim)
- Latin American Israelis
- Russian/FSU Israelis
- Israeli Female Leaders