A fascinating conference was held at the impressive Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzilya. The topic was “Jewish Peoplehood circa 2110“.
Such futuristic issues were touched upon as: tensions between religious and secular populations, the reconciliation of democracy and a Jewish state and other issues about demographics.
The panel was made up of the following Jewish intellectuals: Dr. David Passig: An occupational futurist and author of the forth-coming book “2048”. A professor at Bar-Ilan University, who describes himself as optimistic, even in the face of all the challenges which face the Jewish people today.
Dr. Noam Lemelshtrich Latar: The Dean of the School of Communications at IDC-Herzilya. Some might have perceived him to be the “resident pessimist” of the conference in his fearless readiness to challenge the assumptions of the questions put to the panel.
Leah Biteolin: An employee at the Jewish Agency for Israel; a 1984 Jewish Israeli immigrant from Ethiopia. Leah shared her personal story of returning to Zion.
â€˜Demographic challengesâ€ are leaving the IDF with fewer soldiers than it needs to defend the country against its threats, forcing the state to take a strong stance against draft-dodging.
Brig.-Gen. Orna Barbivai, deputy head of the IDFâ€™s Human Resources Branch, complained:
â€œWe donâ€™t have enough soldiers…we cannot lend our hand to draft-dodging in any way whatsoeverâ€¦we must work to enlist everybody who is eligible, not only in keeping with Israeli law, but also with our national moralsâ€¦the army canâ€™t wait for something to happen and then say we didnâ€™t prepare; we need to be ready at all times for all situationsâ€¦our chief of General Staff says we must be prepared at all times to fight the next war. We must be ready and be able to win in war to an extent that there will be no question that we were victorious.â€
â€œUp until recent years, some 25 percent of women served as clerks in the army. Nowadays its only 12%, which illustrates the way in which we have created opportunities for women to find roles in the army where they can contribute more and get more out of their serviceâ€¦we see women in the army at every place, at every rank, in professional roles and combat roles all over, and we believe that we must launch every effort to broaden and deepen the service of women in the army.”
â€œBecause we have fewer soldiers than we need, we believe itâ€™s not right to give up on someone for trying to dodge the draft, or for posing as religious. Our situation wonâ€™t allow us to give up on 37% of Israeli womenâ€¦There is no reason that my daughters are required to do national service and someone elseâ€™s arenâ€™tâ€¦at one point one of my daughters was serving in Jenin, while the other was deployed at the Machpela Cave. Of course, like every mother, I worried about them, but thereâ€™s no question, itâ€™s the army, everyone must serve.â€