• Participation by invitation only

Israel Speaks: Human Dignity | Assembly of 200

Dan Hotel, Jerusalem

By invitation only

On January 20–21, 2013, IDI convened the "Assembly of 200" of its Israel Speaks: Human Dignity initiative. This unique meeting brought together 200 Israeli citizens from all walks of life to partner in a historic, nation-wide effort to draft a Declaration of Human Dignity that will highlight the common values that bind all Israelis together and articulate a shared, normative foundation for Israeli society.

The participants in the Israel Speaks Assembly of 200

This meeting was the second stage of a deliberative civic engagement project that includes ever-widening circles of people (20, 200, 2,000 and 200,000) and will involve the citizens of Israel in the creation of a Declaration of Human Dignity by means of face-to-face encounters and digital interactions. The document that will emerge as a result of this deliberative process will be a living document that will be translated into action, integrated into Israel's institutions, organizations, and education system, and incorporated into the daily life of the people of Israel.

Endorsed by Israeli President Shimon Peres, the Israel Speaks Initiative was launched in July 2013, when IDI convened the "Council of 20"—a group of 20 leading representatives of different sectors of Israeli society who participated in two days of intensive civic discourse. During the deep and honest discussions, participants explored human dignity from a variety of vantage points and drafted guiding principles for the Assembly of 200's future work on the Declaration of Human Dignity.

The meeting of the Assembly of 200, the second stage of the project, brought together 200 civilians who are a representative sample of Israeli society. During their two-day meeting, they worked in groups on a draft of a Declaration of Human Dignity that will be made available to the public via the Internet so as to enable broad and intensive public discussion by up to 200,000 Israeli citizens. Parallel to this process of virtual deliberation, town hall meetings at venues throughout Israel will enable some 2,000 individual citizens, members of groups, and representatives of organizations to discuss ways in which the Declaration of Human Dignity can be implemented in the everyday life of Israeli citizens.

This historic process will change the way Israelis see the reality of their daily lives and will make human dignity the guiding principle by which values are measured in Israeli society. The Declaration of Human Dignity that emerges from this process will be created by the citizens of Israel, rather than being imposed on them from the top down. As a result, the document will be seen as having a great deal of legitimacy, as the entire Israeli public will be partners in its creation, regardless of differences of religion, race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, class, or education.


8:45–9:45 a.m.
Welcome and Registration

9:45–11:00 a.m.
Plenary Session
Greetings, introduction, and an explanation of the next two days.

11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Division into small working groups
Working groups will be moderated by professional facilitators and will draft the first part of the Declaration of Human Rights in accordance with the guidelines defined by the Council of 20.

1:00–2:00 p.m.
Lunch Break

2:00–3:40 p.m.
Working groups resume

3:40 to 4:30 p.m.
Groups share their experiences and the results of their work.

4:40–6:10 p.m.
Working groups resume

6:10–7:30 p.m.
Summary of Day One
Groups share the products of Day One, sharing and documentation of experiences, preparation for Day Two.

7:30–8:30 p.m.

8:30–10:00 p.m.
Performance by Playback Theatre of Be'er Sheva
Show by an improvisational theater group that creates shows based on real-life experiences.


8:30–9:00 a.m.
Group portrait

9:00–10:00 a.m.
Morning Plenary Session and Ideas Fair
Introductory Session prior to group work on the last section of the Declaration of Human Dignity: The Vision.

10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Working Groups: Formulation of the Vision

12:00–1:20 p.m.
Summary Day Two
Groups share the results of their work on the Vision and review the parts of the Declaration of Human Dignity that have begun to take shape as a result of the collective work.

1:20–2:20 p.m.
Lunch break

2:20–4:20 p.m.
Task force work
Refinement of the emerging product by reviewing the ethical dilemmas that arose in discussion, thinking together about how participants can promote the discourse that was created jointly.


4:30–6:30 p.m.
Summary Plenary Session
Review of the product created during the two days of the meeting, taking responsibility for next steps, and closing of the Assembly of 200.