Time to Talk

  • הקישור הועתק


Confronted with the challenge of polarization in Israeli society and a general inability to manage disagreements, President Herzog has decided to focus his efforts on making the State of Israel and Israeli society more cohesive and capable of engaging fearlessly with the disagreements that divide it. “Time to Talk” translates the President’s vision into an action plan. This broad plan outlines the establishment of an innovative and educational visitors’ center as well as spaces for consensus-building at the President’s Residence and beyond it, across Israeli society and the whole Jewish world.
Every voice deserves to be heard. So come, it’s time to talk.

The Challenge

As President of the State of Israel, every day I experience the beauty and power of this land—and the beauty and power of its sons and daughters. Michal and I have met them—have met you—across the length and breadth of Israel, in a journey that has made us so proud. Proud of us. Proud of what we have achieved as a country and as a society. But in the same breath, and with pain in my heart, I see the divisions and fissures within us, which are only growing deeper. Unable to manage our disagreements, a violent and hateful discourse has taken shape. It seems like we, who have always been so proud of our cohesion here in Israel, have not only forgotten how to agree; we are not even capable of arguing. With our own bare hands, we have turned the public sphere, both physical and virtual, into a place where citizens are afraid of falling victim to violence. This is an emergency, and the responsibility lies with us.

גינת בית הנשיא
The Presidential Gardens

Credit: Igal Slavin

The President’s Vision

The State of Israel will reach its 80th year of independence—traditionally, the “age of strength”—more cohesive and less divided, and we will reach this milestone as a society fearlessly engaging with the conflicts within us in a way that will make us grow, and grow stronger. The pursuit of broad agreements, not of defeating the other side, and of “arguments for the sake of the heavens” has been the foundation of our nation’s existence for generations. We will guard the boundaries of our disagreements, so that they may sustain us as parts of the same whole and allow us to write more and more chapters in the collective and inspirational story we call Israel.

Time to Talk

Time to Talk translates the President’s vision into an action plan. This broad and diverse program includes the operation of an innovative educational visitors’ center and spaces for consensus-building—at the President’s Residence and beyond its walls, throughout Israeli society and among the entire Jewish People.

Beit Ha’am—The People’s House

In line with the President’s vision, the President’s Residence serves as the People’s House.
The President’s Residence will operate a space for a diverse array of educational programs, encounters for dialogue and learning about ways to accommodate disagreements, and an educational visitors’ center.

So come, it’s time to talk through our programs and activities.

In the spirit of the President’s vision, the President’s Residence hosts the Echo-Sphere, a space for discreet discussions about core issues of dispute in Israeli society, which threaten our nation’s unity.
The discussions at the Echo-Sphere are conducted in a spirit of genuine and fundamental dialogue, in a spirit of dignity, listening, and tolerance for all sides’ positions. Discussions at the Echo-Sphere help facilitate new ideas and create platforms for new points of agreement, highlighting practical tools to enable sustained coexistence in situations of disagreement, and progress based on consensus.

These discussions bring together key actors, stakeholders, opinion leaders, and experts, with the president’s active participation at critical moments.

Contact us about the Echo-Sphere israelisociety@president.gov.il

As part of Time to Talk, the Office of the President will operate a special vehicle for dialogue-on-the go, which will take instructors and counselors between communities, organizations, and youth movements to spread the president’s vision in various frameworks, including at roundtables of local popular assemblies, with unity graffiti from Dan to Eilat, campaigns calling for connections and dialogue, a regional “dialogue hub,” and more.

The Time to Talk program and initiatives in the same spirit operate in a range of formats, with different target audiences. Here are some examples of existing activities and others being planned in the framework of the People’s House:

Time to Talk in the Community workshops

These workshops and discussion groups will take place all around the country in a joint initiative with the Israel Association of Community Centers.

Time to Talk workshops/programs in the business sector

These diverse activities will take place between employers and employees in the framework of a joint initiative with Ma’ala. The emphasis will be on jointly exploring the role of the business sector in promoting activities that bring together citizens from all communities in Israel that share the same workplace.

Time to Talk in academia

Activities in the spirit of the Time to Talk initiative for colleges and universities in Israel are currently in advanced development stages.

Leadership forums

At the President’s Residence and elsewhere, leadership forums will be held and work plans will be devised to advance the Time to Talk initiative in various institutions and organizations, such as youth movements, academies, local authorities, government ministries, and more.

In addition, other activities and projects in the spirit of Time to Talk will continue at the same time under the leadership of the First Lady in the fields of mental health, employment, women, and more.

Activities and events under the auspices of the Presidency

Organizations wishing to engage in dialogue and discourse between groups in Israeli society can gain recognition as acting in the spirit of Time to Talk: The President’s Initiative for Dialogue. The diverse initiatives and events taking place under the auspices of the initiative will not only have an immediate impact on their participants; they will also be part of a broader public message promoting discourse, listening, and dialogue at the present time.

Are you organizing an initiative/event promoting the values of discourse and dialogue between different parts of Israeli society? We would be happy to explore its compatibility with Time to Talk: The President’s Initiative for Dialogue. Please send a short description of your initiative and its organizers to BeitHaam@president.gov.il

The Israeli Climate Forum, an initiative of President Isaac Herzog, was formed to promote change in Israel’s response to the climate crisis.

Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom, GPO

The forum’s establishment reflects the State of Israel’s commitment to being on the frontlines of the global discussion about this issue and aims to promote cooperation between groups and communities in Israeli society and regional and international partnerships, bringing senior policy-makers into contact with climate thinkers and practitioners.

The Israeli Climate Forum, headed by Dr. Dov Khenin, was launched in January 2022 and works under the auspices of the Office of the President.

Underpinning the forum’s work is the understanding that in order to lead Israel to where it needs to be, in terms of reducing its emissions and preparing for life in a world with a different climate, immediate action is needed, and on a totally different scale. The Israeli Climate Forum provides a platform to consolidate major and groundbreaking initiatives, cutting across different sectors, in the field of the climate crisis, in order to bring about policy change and contribute to change in the real world.

The forum brings together in its activities representatives of civil society, academia, the government, the Knesset, local authorities, the economic sector, and the worlds of culture and the media.

When he entered office, as early as his inaugural address in the Knesset, the President stated his profound commitment to preparing for and confronting the climate crisis.

Over the past year , in cooperation with the Israeli Climate Forum, the President has conducted extensive engagements in this area. The President addresses climate issues in his visits around Israel, and throughout the year he has held meetings on the subject, including with the heads of leading tech firms. The issue of the climate is raised and discussed in all the President’s bilateral meetings with heads of state and governments, promoting partnerships that affect the State of Israel and the whole Middle East. Last November , the President led the Israeli delegation to the COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where he presented to world leaders his vision and Israel’s contributions.

Moreover, the President raised the issue of the climate in all his discussions with representatives of the parties in the Knesset as part of the consultations he held before assigning the task of forming a government following the elections to the Twenty-Fifth Knesset, demanding answers about the climate crisis from representatives of all the parties.

As part of his work to promote this issue in Israeli academia, the President hosted a special meeting at the President’s Residence with the presidents of Israel’s universities and the head of the Planning and Budgeting Committee, in which he addressed the importance of universities taking action and spoke especially about the most relevant initiatives for universities developed in the framework of the forum.

For questions about the forum, please contact Keren Amichai, the acting director of the Israeli Climate Forum, at climate@president.gov.il.

For partnerships with the Office of the President about the climate and sustainability, contact Tal Gelbart, who is coordinating the issue on behalf of the President, at tal@president.gov.il.

Sports are a powerful engine of growth in Israeli society. The social and moral changes driven through the values of sports influence Israeli society.

Sports are a powerful engine of growth in Israeli society. The social and moral changes driven through the values of sports influence Israeli society.

In the framework of Team Play, run by Value Sports in a joint initiative with the Office of the President, hundreds of sports clubs are adopting the values of Time to Talk. The intervention programs and sports organized by Team Play provide an opportunity for cultivating interpersonal communication, social and group skills, good leadership, excellence, trust in each other, and acceptance of the other, and for celebrating the common ground between tens of thousands of young athletes from all the communities that comprise Israeli society.

Outstanding clubs and organizations receive recognition at the President’s Prize for Team Play award ceremony, which shines a spotlight on major issues addressed by the intervention programs:

Empowering girls and young women in sports

While girls and young women might seem to be less interested in sports, they are frequently confronted with barriers that prevent them from developing perseverance, interest, and aptitude. These barriers include social stigmas, a lack of familiarity with sports and female role models, insufficient support at home, and trainers who lack the tools and language to keep female athletes in the game. That said, there are factors positively affecting girls’ and young women’s motivation to persevere, improve, and stay active—from strong social ties, to personal attention and support from trainers, to support from families, to a connection to a club.

In the framework of the Team Play initiative, Value Sports will work to build standards for sports clubs to operate with an awareness about gender issues and to develop community programs to get girls and young women playing sports—and to keep them there. Value Sports will accompany girls’ and young women’s soccer and basketball clubs in order to help them create the conditions and environment that will give an equal opportunity to girls and young women from all sections of the population to persevere, realize their full potential, and stay involved in sports as trainers, referees, and managers. In the framework of this program, clubs will receive comprehensive support, including workshops for managers, trainers, and players, meetings with parents, and connections with the local community and the sports department in the relevant local authority.

Integrating children and teenagers with or without disabilities in sports

The children and youth departments in Israeli soccer clubs serve as an anchor and social setting for tens of thousands of children and young people. Every boy and girl deserves an equal opportunity to engage in sports in an inclusive setting adapted to their needs, in order to empower them, boost their self-confidence, and improve their social skills.

Interactions between children and youth with different needs and characteristics in the context of training sessions help them develop tolerance, inclusion, communication, and teamwork skills to achieve shared objectives. The special experience of being part of a sports team, with or without disabilities, creates opportunities to build a community fabric through engagement in sports—a major steppingstone in building children’s identities and sense of belonging.

In the framework of the Team Play initiative, Value Sports will work in cooperation with the Israel Football Association to implement this program to run soccer clubs with a holistic perspective, laying the groundwork for integrating children with disabilities in informal sports frameworks.

As part of the program, clubs will receive comprehensive support including Building Organizational Resilience and Integrative Perspective workshops for managers, Integrative Training workshops for trainers, and programs for players and group programs for parents.

Empowering children and youth from the social and geographical periphery in sports

In recent years, children and teenagers have become exposed to negative social phenomena of violence, racism, social exclusion, insecurity, and an inability to realize their full personal potential. A comprehensive study of the Israeli education system and its compatibility with the twenty-first century recognized emotional and social skills as essential for children and youth, so that they can integrate into groups and society. This is especially true for teenagers growing up in the nation’s social and geographical periphery.

Permanent frameworks for sporting activities provide meaningful educational spaces, because of their structured activities and inherent added value. There is currently a shortage of non-professional sporting frameworks capable of serving young people, but permanent sporting frameworks can serve as a platform for enhancing children and young people’s emotional resilience.

In the framework of the Team Play initiative, Value Sports will work together with the Israel Association of Community Centers to develop social and educational sports frameworks for young people in their communities.

In the framework of this program, the clubs in the Israeli Premier League (men’s soccer) will adopt and mentor social soccer clubs from youth villages supervised by the Education Ministry , because premier league players are role models for many young people and can exercise an enormous influence in promoting social, moral, and educational messages to the youth.

Promoting tolerance and dialogue on sports pitches

Sports facilities must be a platform for positive social and cultural dialogue, which brings people together and promotes values of tolerance and acceptance of the other.

This intervention scheme will operate to foster tolerance and create a positive climate in sports facilities—both in the arena and in the stands. The program will work with professional clubs and fans, in order to create a common and productive discourse about social encouragement, language at games, and eliminating violence.

For further details about Team Play, contact Batel Gerbi, the CEO of Value Sports, at batel@valuesports.org.

Kol Ha’am—Voice of the People is a unique initiative that aspires to bring together the diverse voices in the global Jewish community and develop forward-thinking leadership. As we celebrate 75 years of Israel’s independence, as a beacon of innovation, creativity, and goodwill, we recall the critical need to bridge the widening gaps within our diverse Jewish communities.

Disagreements on fundamental issues are jeopardizing our millennia-old tradition of dialogue and shared narratives.

This initiative, under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel, aims to confront these challenges by providing a non-partisan and non-political space for open and honest conversations—a kind of “Jewish Davos,” where diverse perspectives may be examined.

This innovative approach has the declared aim of bringing us closer to each other and facilitating meaningful, sensitive, and strategic discussions on the most complex and urgent issues confronting our people.

Besides producing concrete proposals for action, this platform is also committed to cultivating the next generation of Jewish leaders, who will be able to bear the Jewish People’s torch forward and fill it with new perspectives, to ensure its relevance and meaning now and in the future.

Most importantly, the Kol Ha’am—Voice of the People initiative is intended to serve as a permanent and dynamic forum for ongoing dialogue in the Jewish world.

By fostering and harnessing the power of collective dialogue, it expects to cultivate an environment that will produce practical strategies, reflecting the needs and aspirations of our global community. This initiative is not a one-off gathering, but an ongoing conversation under the auspices of the President of Israel—a conversation that transcends the present moment, for the benefit of the Jewish People’s next generations around the world.

Further details on the Kol-Ha’am—Voice of the People website: www.voiceofthepeople.org.il.

Further questions? Thoughts? Please write to us danya@president.gov.il.