The date, the topics and the speakers at this conference had been fixed for a long time. Nobody could have guessed at the planning stage how topical this event would be, as it took place only two days after the dissolution of the 21st Knesset and the proclamation of early elections. The media interest was correspondingly high when Avi Gabbay, Ofer Shelah, Aiman Odeh, Tamar Zandberg and Ehud Barak discussed the situation of the left political camp in Israel. Gabbay and Zandberg agreed that political forces must draw up common lists in order to place the common above the divisive. Meretz’s leader called on the Labour Party to join forces with Meretz. Gabbay left this open, but also advocated a common list, either with Meretz or with Kahol-Lawan.
In general, the call for more unity in the center-left bloc was the credo of the conference. In impulse contributions and working groups, the hundreds of visitors, most of them young activists, discussed campaigning, media, social justice, separation of powers, a social protest movement, Jewish-Arab coexistence and a balance with the Palestinians. There was a positive energy in the air, people full of optimism and zest for action. The FES is proud to collaborate with its strategic partner, the Berl Katznelson Foundation, on what is now Israel’s most important social-democratic event.