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About IDI

IDI House

Research. Debate. Impact.

The Israel Democracy Institute is an independent, non-partisan "think and do tank" dedicated to strengthening the foundations of Israeli democracy. Established in 1991, IDI supports Israel's elected officials, civil servants, and opinion leaders in four main ways:

  • Research: IDI conducts policy research of uncompromising quality on issues critical to the future of Israeli democracy.
  • Dialogue: IDI convenes open and fair forums designed to foster vigorous public debate and build consensus across society and government.
  • Reform: IDI designs research-based blueprints for reform accompanied by practical implementation strategies.
  • Inculcation of Values: IDI acts to promote the values and norms vital for Israel's identity as a Jewish and democratic state.

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Headquartered in Israel's capital city of Jerusalem, the Israel Democracy Institute grounds its vision on the principles of Israel's Declaration of Independence. These principles are an expression of the Zionist aspiration to found the State of Israel on the values of Judaism, humanism, liberalism, and fraternity. Our vision has three components:

Government

  • A parliamentary democracy built on a solid constitutional foundation
  • Effective governance characterized by decentralization, participation, accountability and transparency

Society

  • A society imbued with a commitment to protect and preserve fundamental human rights—rights centered on human liberty, dignity and equality, and on the aspiration to build a just society
  • A model society, solidary and pluralistic, which emphasizes tolerance and respect for others

Identity

  • A Jewish and democratic state, in which the Jewish people realize their national right to self-determination
  • A state whose Jewish identity encompasses a variety of beliefs, opinions and interpretations
  • A state whose Arab citizens and other minorities comprise vital and integral parts of society and the body politic, which ensures equal opportunity for all its citizens and enables its various communities to preserve and cultivate their unique cultures.

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Since its establishment in 1991, IDI has:

  • Led to the founding of the Knesset Research and Information Center
  • Produced the leading draft of a constitution for the State of Israel
  • Created the Caesarea Economic Forum, Israel's premier economic policy conference
  • Led the successful struggle to repeal the two ballot electoral system
  • Drafted the first comprehensive proposal for resolving the tensions between religion and state in Israel
  • Instituted the George Shultz Roundtable, a unique forum for constructive dialogue between politicians and opinion leaders from across the political spectrum
  • Created The Seventh Eye, the world's first online venue for professional self-criticism by the media
  • Championed the establishment of Israel's National Economic Council
  • Inspired the creation of a special authority for minority affairs within the Prime Minister's Office
  • Helped shaped dozens of laws designed to strengthen national security, combat corruption, defend human rights, and defuse religious tensions in Israel

In 2009, in recognition of the Institute's achievements in the first 18 years of its existence, the State of Israel bestowed its highest honor upon IDI: The Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement – Special Contribution for Society and State.

 

The complex process of constructing a stable democracy requires vision as well as strategy. No other institution offers this combination as effectively as IDI.

— George P. Shultz, Former US Secretary of State

 

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