Convening Israel's changemakers for a more cohesive future

Today's Israel is made up of separate and distinct “silos” or “tribes” that too often have little to do with one another: secular, Arab, ultra-Orthodox, religious Zionist (and within them, sub-communities such as Ethiopians, Mizrachim, Bedouins etc). They have separate school systems, their own media sources, different major cities, and separate lives. In order for Israel to maintain a Jewish and democratic identity, these siloed groups within Israeli society must do the hard work of getting to know one another in order to create a platform for building the next chapter of Israel together.

The Federation’s Gvanim program works to empower leaders from across the diverse landscape of Israeli society to author the next chapter of Israel—together!

In 2000, the Federation founded the Gvanim ("hues," in Hebrew) program in response to the deep divisions in Israel symbolized by the assassination of Prime Minister Yizhak Rabin by a Jewish religious extremist.

The groundbreaking program worked for many years to strengthen Israel’s democracy by creating a cadre of leaders to spread the message of Jewish pluralism to ever-widening circles of Israelis. After many years of this work to promote Jewish pluralism, different institutions and programs were born to bring a more diverse array of Jewish experiences to Israelis, such as Federation’s current and past grantees, BINA and Beit Tefilah Israeli.

In the past few years, Gvanim has evolved to begin creating a “New Israeli Order” and now includes leaders from all four tribes—secular, Arab, ultra-Orthodox, religious Zionist. Gvanim aims to foster this cadre of leaders to be invested in a shared, pluralistic vision for Israel’s future and to work towards that vision within their own circles of influence. These cohorts of diverse professionals participate in the program for one year to focus on breaking down the silos between their communities.

The program culminates with a visit to San Francisco, where participants have the opportunity to explore how other communities address issues, such as embracing ethnic and religious diversity, and the progress and challenges of creating a more democratic and shared society.

This program is operated by the Federation's office in Israel.

Gvanim in the workplace

In light of the program’s success and increased impact, more CEOs and Executive Directors are reaching out to Federation to partner on their own internal Gvanim programs that utilize their staff’s diversity as a powerful resource for the work. These programs are now conducted in more than 20 Israeli government ministries, NGOs, universities and colleges. By the end of 2019, there will be over 650 Gvanim alumni across Israel who will promulgate a shared vision for Israel within their communities and circles of influence.

Learn more about the program:

For more information, please contact:
Barak Loozon
Israel Office Director