The Truman Newsletter Newsletter #3, December 2020
From the Director's Desk
We were hoping that by now social distancing and talk of Covid-19 would be in the past tense, but we are not quite there yet. While vaccines are in the air and in the making, we have begun to understand that life will never be the same as it was prior to the pandemic. Some changes may be for the better - less driving, less pollution, less time wasted on the road - while many others are for the worse: job losses, loneliness, home not always being a safe haven. We are certainly living the curse "may you live in interesting times".
In trying to respond to the challenge, as well as to advocate the issues at the center of our agenda, the Truman Institute held five webinars between March and November 2020. Each webinar was dedicated to a different topic and attracted hundreds of participants through various digital platforms. Let me share with you some of the observations from the last one which aired in November addressing internal conflicts and a cultural trauma -- the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Israel's Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. Titled "Twenty-Five Years Later: Where We Were And Where We Are Today", the webinar hosted five scholars from five different disciplines and backgrounds.
Prof. Eran Halperin (Psychology, Hebrew University and founder of aChord Center) presented some troubling data on the level of hatred between various groups in Israeli. Mainly (but not only) people with right-wing views expressed readiness to initiate acts of violence against people with left-wing views and against politicians with whom they disagree.
Dr. Gili Zivan (the Mandel Leadership Program) introduced two contrasting trends within the Zionist-religious group following the assassination; one of which explores ways into mainstream Israeli secular society while the other cultivates segregation, radicalism and estrangement.
Dr. Yusri Khaizran (Truman Institute) pointed out that despite the fact that Israeli Arabs supported Rabin during his second term, Jewish society did not recognize their grief over his assassination and did not include them in the circles of mourning. By doing so, it lost an opportunity to find common ground.
Prof. Raya Morag (Communication and Journalism, Hebrew University) focused on the lack of films on the assassination. Morag believes that the national trauma of the assassination has not yet been socially and culturally represented and dealt with in Israel.
Our last speaker, Prof. Hizki Shoham (Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies, Bar Ilan University and Hartman Institute) said that interest in marking the Memorial Day for the assassination is waning and that a different mnemonic format needs to be found. Shoham suggested that a wise solution would be to use an existing Jewish tradition, such as a fast, to commemorate the day.
Credit: Bruno Charbit
Last but not least, we recently hosted the Director and a member of the Board of Trustees of Bahrain's King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence on our roof overlooking the entire city of Jerusalem. Let us hope that these new winds and connections will eventually bring peace and justice to our region and our conflicts – both internally and externally.
Happy Holiday Season,
Vered and the Truman Team
The Truman News journal provides a chance for the public to glimpse into the academic, research and events that take place in the institute for an entire year. Ranging from dignitary visits of Prime Ministers and Presidents of countries, through academic conferences and projects to new publications and initiatives coming from Truman researchers. Truman News gives a small taste of an entire year's work and effort performed by both academic and administrative personnel at the institute.
Truman News 2017
Truman News 2016
Truman News 2015