“Roadmap for a Shared Society”, is a unique, multi-stage project, conducting the first inclusive process of developing, deliberating and advocating for a joint vision of implementable, measurable goals for a shared society in Israel.
In the first year of the project, five professional working groups of leading Jewish and Arab public figures in Israel convened in an historic process to formulate a Roadmap of practical steps for implementation to move the State of Israel toward a Shared Society. The groups articulated concrete goals and measures in the areas of education, economic development, governance/local governance, land use, and restorative processes and cultural representation; topics based on the UN Millennium Development Goals. Each working group was composed of Arab and Jewish professionals from the public and private sectors as well as from civil society, with an effort made to include representatives from a broad range of political backgrounds. To leverage the impact of these goal documents, each of the working groups was headed by two Champions, one Jewish and one Arab, prominent figures with a commitment to consensus building and with extensive knowledge of and background experience with the subject matter, to both galvanize the groups’ work and garner public agreement. Each group was supported by a dedicated facilitator with expertise in conflict management and knowledge of the group’s subject, and a senior researcher provided each of the groups with background material on their topic and on relevant previous experience, both in Israel and internationally.
Each of the groups compiled a document that included a list of concrete steps for immediate implementation. These were first presented by the group Champions at the Givat Haviva Shared Society Conference on March 20, 2017, at which the Public Engagement stage of the project was also launched. During the next eight months, 40 Public Engagement meetings were held, half in Hebrew and half in Arabic, to discuss and receive detailed feedback on the recommendations from a wide variety of audiences, and feedback on the recommendations was collected via online platforms from over 20,000 people.
In November 2017, the five groups reconvened one last time to incorporate the public feedback into a final Roadmap document with specific recommendations and a Shared Society Index to monitor Israel’s progress toward a shared society. A national survey was measured public support, and a conference was hosted at the Knesset on December 19, 2017 by the Knesset Advocacy Group for Shared Living between Jews and Arabs. It was attended by 15 MKs, who praised the Roadmap Recommendations and urged Givat Haviva and other civil society partners to continue promoting them.
At present, the Knesset Advocacy Group for Shared Living between Jews and Arabs has adopted the Roadmap document as the basis for their activity for 2018. Chairs of the advocacy group in collaboration with Givat Haviva senior staff drafted a work plan the year to promote the Roadmap recommendations. A work meeting with Israel President Reuven Rivlin, the Knesset Advocacy Group members, and Givat Haviva leadership is scheduled to discuss the recommendations and how to promote their implementation, special meetings of the Knesset committees on education and economic development will be convened to discuss Roadmap recommendations in those two areas in detail, and recommendations regarding economic development will also be discussed in its own dedicated Knesset conference. Legislation recommended by the governance team mandating proportionate representation of the Arab population among employees in government companies will be drafted and promoted. The Givat Haviva Shared Society Conference at Givat Haviva on May 6 will be a central event, and the final date for the conference was decided together with the Knesset Advocacy Group members to ensure Knesset members will attend. The year’s activities will culminate with another Knesset conference to review and discuss the year’s achievements and plan for continuation.