The Challenge

UIF is weaving together solutions to three interrelated problems that are undermining the soul of Israel.

Israel and the Jewish people must break the collective inferiority complex that has arisen in the last 200 years from deliberate estrangement from much of its history and Tradition. Only then can it regain its status as a respected Jewish nation amongst the family of nations. This will require a transformation of Israel's society, in which three concerns must be addressed: a government that is capable of institutionalizing changes, an educational system that recognizes Jewish history and Tradition as a central feature of contemporary Jewish identity, and a populace that takes responsibility for defining and incorporating the changes. Today, none of the above exists.

There is a chasm in Israel dividing the secular, society's elites, and the very religious. The chasm has roots that predate the creation of the State of Israel. The ideologies on both sides have hardened into an estranged coexistence. Each side must dismantle long-held perceptions of themselves and the "other", if Israel is to survive the Arab onslaught and internal and external attempts to delegitimize the State. Both positions are bankrupt. Each faction uses politics to obstruct the other rather than solve the country's real problems.

Politics as practiced in Israel for the last 65 years will NEVER bring peace to Israel or to the Middle East. The country has never had a Constitution and the form of government, Proportional Representation, is completely dysfunctional. A Presidential form of government, in which legislators are answerable to their constituencies, needs to replace it. A cornerstone of UIF's mission is to lead the movement to bring a new form of government to Israel. At the same time, UIF will work to heal the societal breaches, and to bring a serious rapprochement that is a precondition to bringing a new form of government.

Israel's psyche is severely wounded; the people have been alienated from each other and their government for too long and the national will is eroding. Israel acts as if it had been defeated in the four major wars it has won. The country's public posture is that it requires a peace treaty to survive. Israel has allowed herself to be cornered into the Arab interpretation (which much of the world also now buys as legitimate) that the relevant history of the country spans only 65 tenuous years. In reality, Israel's history is that of a people taken seriously on the world stage for thousands of years. The new shallow version of Israel's history hides this background. The full and robust background of the Jewish people must be recovered as the foundation of Israeli identity.

In Israel there are no public forums in which divisiveness is addressed as a major problem. The many factions hurl invectives and vilify each other: the secular slander publicly in the media; the religious slander the secular in private. There has been no effort by the leaders in either the secular or the religious world to meet and get past those divisions.

UIF will begin by creating a public forum in which this issue, and others, will be discussed. This is the key initiative for UIF to accomplish. Only by creating a forum in which the effectively-warring parties come together to address the divisiveness can the process begin to replace long-entrenched paradigms that no longer work.

The changes required call for a transformation of Israelis' views and behaviors. The country's mainstream 65 year experiment with creating the "new Jew" by abandoning all spiritual and historical connections to Judaism has been a resounding failure. The connection has to be restored. The Haredi (Ultra Orthodox) failure to involve themselves with the welfare of the State over the last 65 years has been an abdication of responsibility to the Jewish people. That has to end. UIF hopes to start a revolution in government, in education and with the people, which will create the Jew who clearly understands who he is, why we've been here for 3,320 years and that we have an inspiring Mission to impart to the world.

Eventually the people themselves will resuscitate the national will, through a new Public Forum, face to face meetings between ideological and religious adversaries, new educational programs and national conversations with people who have historically not had a voice. UIF will use all forms of communication: the national media (radio, TV, print), Internet, blogs, etc., until the core ideas put forth become engrained in the mainstream national conversation. These messages and ideas will be tailored to focus on the different cultural enclaves in the country, including the Arabs. UIF will also assist other NGOs whose missions are consistent with the goals of UIF.

In the long history of the Jewish people, politics has never brought peace or unity to the Jewish people. The UIF program, and the eventual understanding that it is designed to bring – the absolute necessity of unity amongst the Jewish people – are key to Israel's future.

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Mark Goldberg

Board of Advisors

Ambassador Ido Aharoni - Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem and New York City
Professor Uzi Arad - Former Head, National Security Council, State of Israel
Nir Barkat - Mayor of Jerusalem
Adina Bar-Shalom - President, The Haredi College of Jerusalem
Rabbi Motti Berger - Senior Lecturer, Aish HaTorah, Jerusalem
Rabbi Sholom Ber Levitin - Northwest Regional Director, Chabad-Lubavitch, Seattle, Washington
Prof. Joseph S.Bodenheimer - Former President, Jerusalem College of Technology
Prof. Gideon Doron - Chairman, Israeli Political Sci. Assoc., Tel Aviv
Prof. Paul Eidelberg - Founder, Foundation for Constitutional Democracy, Jerusalem
Ambassador Dore Gold - President, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Rabbi Simon Jacobson - Publisher, Algemeiner Journal, Brooklyn, New York
Shlomo Kalish - Founding Partner, Jerusalem Global Ventures
Eli Kazhdan - CEO, Noshki Consulting, Inc., Jerusalem
Charlie Levine - CEO, Lone Star Communications, Jerusalem
M.K. Rabbi Michael Melchior - Honorary
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin - Chief Rabbi, Efrat
Robert B. Spitzer Esq. - Past President, Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle
David Zilbershlag - Founder, Meir Panim, Jerusalem