Ever since its founding, the Gavison-Medan Action Group has been working to generate public awareness of the Covenant as a comprehensive and thoughtful model for dealing with disagreements in matters of religion and state by means of dialogue and compromise rather than power politics. It is active on a number of levels: legislative (the Knesset), public (conferences and media exposure), community (local authorities), and educational (universities, high schools, Jewish renewal movements, youth groups, etc.).
In the legislative and public arenas it decided to focus on the Sabbath. The Action Group has been involved as a professional consultant in the drafting of a proposed Sabbath law and has sought public exposure for this draft through conferences and media exposure.
On the community and educational levels, we emphasize the dialogue model that underlies the Covenant and introduce the main points of the Covenant with regard to the Law of Return, citizenship, and conversion; personal status; the Sabbath; and so on.
To date, hundreds of copies of the Covenant and of the document summarizing its main points and principles have been distributed. The Gavison-Medan Action Group supports independent activity on the Covenant by other groups, involving telephone consultation and the distribution of auxiliary materials developed by the Action Group. If you would like to be part of this campaign, please contact us to coordinate activities.
On this page you can read about the conferences and other major events in which the Gavison-Medan Action Group has been involved. The conferences are described in greater depth separate from the other activities.Major Activities in 2006
December 2006, Midrasha, Migdal Oz: Rabbi Medan spoke about the Covenant to about 150 young women at the Midrasha in Migdal Oz (Gush Etzion).
December 2006, Be-Ma’aglei Tzedek conference, Tel Aviv: Rabbi Medan spoke about the Sabbath, in the context of Be-Ma’aglei Tzedek’s “Social Seal” project, at the conference, held on the 10th of Tevet (about 100 participants).
December 2006, Moshav Natur, Golan Heights: There was a signing ceremony for a local covenant among the secular and religious residents of the mixed community of Moshav Natur. The document was inspired by the Gavison-Medan Covenant.
October 2006, Hudson Institute, Washington D.C.: Prof. Ruth Gavison spoke about the Covenant, as part of a workshop on the major problems confronting Israeli society.
August 2006, Galei Tsahal (IDF Radio): Prof. Gavison and Rabbi Medan spoke to cadets in the Galei Tsahal course for new members of the station’s staff (for the second year in a row).
July 2006, Jerusalem College of Technology (Machon Lev): Rabbi Medan lectured to hundreds of rabbis who are affiliated with the Zohar organization.
June 2006, Machon Amiel, Jerusalem: Rabbi Medan spoke to hundreds of rabbis who are about to go abroad to serve as emissaries. Machon Amiel is the Higher Institute to Train Rabbis and Spiritual Leaders for Jewish Communities.
June 2006, Atidim Program, School for Public Policy, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: The project director, Yoav Artsieli, delivered a lecture.
June 2006, Gush Etzion: Rabbi Ya’acov Medan spoke to cadets of the Golan Heights Premilitary Academy (the secular Meitzar Academy) who were visiting Gush Etzion.
May 2006, Australia: Prof. Ruth Gavison delivered a series of lectures about the Covenant to key groups of the local Jewish communities in Melbourne and Canberra.
May 2006, Jerusalem: A workshop on the Gavison-Medan Covenant was conducted for participants in the Bronfman Fellows program (teenagers dealing with the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora).
May 2006, Jerusalem: Rabbi Jacob Medan spoke about the Covenant to fellows of the Institute for Zionist Strategy.
April 2006, Tel Aviv: Prof. Ruth Gavison delivered a talk about the Covenant to the heads of the premilitary academies and their staffs (as part of a symposium for all the academies, in which more than 100 persons participated).
April 2006, Tel Aviv: Prof. Ruth Gavison spoke about the Covenant to the Tel Aviv–Los Angeles Educational Partnership (an audience of more than 100 persons).
March 2006, Course for administrators in the public service, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Rabbi Ya’acov Medan spoke about the Covenant.
March 2006, DSP Ltd., Herzliyya: Prof. Ruth Gavison discussed the Covenant in her talk on “Israel as a Jewish and democratic state”.
March 2006, Jerusalem: Prof. Gavison and Rabbi Medan participated in a conference to mark the publication of the book Shevet Ahim.
March 2006, Jerusalem: Prof. Gavison and Rabbi Medan participated in a conference about the Covenant, held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
February 2006, In-service course for high-school principals from Tel Aviv (held at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel): The project director Yoav Artsieli, spoke about the Covenant. There was also a workshop about the proposed Sabbath Law.
February 2006, World Jewish Congress, Jerusalem: Prof. Ruth Gavison spoke and discussed the Covenant.
February 2006, Conference of civics teachers, Qiryat Arba: Rabbi Ya’acov Medan spoke about the Covenant, as part of the activity of the Yesodot organization.
Major activities in 2005
November 2005, Course for Intelligence Officers, Jerusalem: A lecture about the Covenant as part of a unit on Judaism for cadets in the Intelligence Corps’ officer-training course.
November 2005, ceremony to mark the start of the academic year, Melton Center, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: A comprehensive discussion of the Covenant, with the participation of Prof. Ruth Gavison and Rabbi Yaacov Medan, before an audience of about a hundred students from various academic programs that deal with Jewish education.
November 2005, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute: A lecture by Prof. Gavison about the Covenant’s proposals regarding the Law of Return. The lecture was delivered as part of a forum of some twenty senior scholars from all the universities, which focuses on decisive intersections in Israeli society.
November 2005, IDF General Staff Forum, The Tenth Anniversary of the Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin: A lecture by Prof. Gavison, dealing in part with the Covenant.
October 2005, Intermediate Days of Sukkot, Peace for Generations (Shalom LeDorot): A panel discussion on the implications of the disengagement from Gaza, with the participation of Rabbi Yaacov Medan and Prof. Gavison, who spoke in part about the Covenant.
October 2005, Weekly Portion of Ha’azinu, Conference of Zohar Rabbis: A panel discussion on the implications of the disengagement from Gaza, with the participation of Rabbi Medan, who spoke in part about the Covenant.
October 2005, Yedioth Ahronoth Yom Kippur Supplement: An article by Rabbi Medan about the Covenant. “Yes, it is hard to reach an agreement, but it is possible. It is essential for both the observant and the nonobservant, and, even more so, for all of us together.”
September 2005, Galei Tsahal (IDF Radio): Prof. Gavison and Rabbi Medan spoke about the Covenant to a course held by Galei Tsahal for soldiers who recently joined the station’s staff.
September 2005, Sabbath Commerce in Modiin: After the Yishpro Mall in Modiin began opening for business on Saturdays, a public debate emerged in the town about the public character of the Sabbath. Various groups in the city are opposed to the mall’s being open on the Sabbath. The Gavison-Medan Action Group is in contact with them. The issue was the subject of an extensive cover story by Gilit Chomsky-Falik that appeared in Zeman Modiin, the local supplement of Maariv.
September 2005, Tel Aviv: Participation in organizing a conference on the Sabbath (see above, “Conferences”).
July 2005, Heidelberg, Germany: Prof. Ruth Gavison delivered a lecture on the Sabbath, including an outline of the Covenant, at an academic conference on days of rest.
June 2005, Ein Perat Pre-Military Academy: Rabbi Ya'acov Medan spoke about the Covenant.
May 2005, Convention of the Israel Bar Association in Eilat: Rabbi Ya'acov Medan participated in the session on Religion and State and presented the Covenant. Other participants in the sessions were professors Pinchas Schiffman, Daphne Barak-Erez, and Yaakov Neeman, and MK Eti Livni.
May 2005, Panel discussion on public observance of the Sabbath (at the Israel Democracy Institute): The panel included professors Arik Carmon, Mordechai Kremnitzer, Yedidia Stern, and Aviezer Ravitzky, Dr. Zvi Zameret, attorney Gilad Kariv, Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun, Rabbi Ya'acov Medan, and the chair of Gavison-Medan Action Group steering committee, Mr. Shmuel Slavin. The director of the Action Group, Mr. Yoav Artsieli, drew up the background material for the discussion.
April 2005, World Union of Jewish Students: Activity on the Sabbath, based on the Gavison-Medan Covenant.
March 2005, Shefayim, national conference of the cultural staff of the United Kibbutz Movement: Moti Zeira (Oranim College) and Yoav Artsieli (the Gavison-Medan Action Group) spoke about the Sabbath and the Covenant. The moderator was Binyamin Yogev (the Kibbutz Institute for Jewish Festivals and Holidays).
February 2005, youth-group leaders in Ashqelon: A series of activities with youth-group leaders in Ashqelon. At the conclusion, the participants drew up a local covenant on the Sabbath.
January 2005, the National Defense College: Rabbi Ya'acov Medan spoke about the Covenant to a group of senior IDF officers.
January 2005, Kibbutz Yifat, Jezreel Valley: The Action Group organized a conference on the Sabbath, attended by more than 900 people (see above).
Major activities in 2003 and 2004
December 2004, Shefayim: The Action Group organized a conference on the Sabbath attended by more than 200 persons (see above).
December 2004, Gevanim Series: Prof. Ruth Gavison spoke on religion and state; Yoav Artsieli spoke about the Covenant and its measures. Gevanim is a prominent program for developing leaders to promote a pluralistic Jewish identity.
November 2004, conference at the President’s Residence: The authors of the Covenant joined the authors of similar documents in a symposium at the President’s Residence, organized by the Yahad Council for Religious and Secular Relations, to mark the publication of The Book of the Covenants.
November 2004, Homefront Command: Workshop for senior officers on religion and state and on the Gavison-Medan Covenant.
October 2004, the board of Ne’emanei Torah va’Avodah: Yoav Artsieli spoke about the Covenant. Ne’emanei Torah va’Avodah is an apolitical religious Zionist movement that promotes the principles of Torah study with involvement in the world in religious and general society in Israel.
The chair of Ne’emanei Torah va’Avodah, Moshe Tur-Paz, published an article on the Covenant on the NRG website.
August 2004, a series of meetings about the Covenant, cosponsored by Melitz: Introducing teenage immigrants to the various areas covered by the Covenant.
March 2004, school principals and civics teachers in Netanya: Prof. Ruth Gavison and Rabbi Yaacov Medan spoke to school principals and civics teachers in Netanya (in cooperation with “Kids in Search of Common Ground: The Education System Writes a Constitution,” run by the Israel Democracy Institute).
March 2004, Modi’in: Prof. Ruth Gavison and Rabbi Ya'acov Medan spoke about the Sabbath and the implementation of the Covenant on the local level in the town of Modi’in.
October 2003, “Hakhel,” Ramat Efal: Gilad Malach (the first director of the Gavison-Medan Action Group) moderated a discussion about the Gavison-Medan Covenant and the Law of Return, with the participation of Meir Ben-Shahar and Yoav Artsieli.