Act II for justices

A roundup of events.

Miriam Naor (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Miriam Naor
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
■ THERE IS life after the Supreme Court. Former Supreme Court president Miriam Naor and former ambassador to the US Sallai Meridor last month joined the board of directors of the Jerusalem-headquartered Jewish People Policy Institute. Naor will supervise a project dealing with relations between religion and state as they apply in Israel, as well as other issues close to her heart related to the continuity of the Jewish people and the connection between Israel and Diaspora Jews.
Meridor, who is international chairman of the Jerusalem Foundation, is a former chairman of the Jewish Agency. As a member of the JPPI board he will focus on both geo-strategic issues and Israel-Diaspora relations.
The project led by Naor was primarily designed to examine what the State of Israel should do to enable every Jew in the world to feel at home here, while taking into account differences in religious beliefs and practice in the various streams of Judaism. The team working with her will also examine whether the State of Israel can and should achieve total separation between religion and state, as is customary in the United States; how or whether the state should be involved in regulating religious life; and whether the discriminatory attitude of the state towards the non-Orthodox streams of Judaism in Israel is in accordance with the rules of democracy and equality before the law.
In welcoming Naor on board, JPPI President Avinoam Bar-Yosef emphasized that she is the most appropriate person to lead such a process in light of the legal aspects of the project, which will also have to address possible distortions in the religious arena and the question of what to do in terms Jewish peoplehood.
Naor and Meridor have also joined JPPI’s executive committee, which serves as its guiding professional council. The Executive Committee is led by Ambassadors Dennis Ross, Stuart Eizenstat and, Elliot Abrams. The Board of Directors together with the team of colleagues in Israel and around the world represents a broad spectrum of opinions in the Zionist sphere and refers to the State of Israel as the nucleus of the Jewish people.
JPPI was founded by the Jewish Agency as an independent think tank, positioned between academia and decision-makers, to carry out in-depth analyses of situations affecting the Jewish people, and offer policy-oriented recommendations which can bridge gaps between Israel and the Diaspora.
■ GIVEN THE festering problems between religion and state in Israel, it hardly comes as a surprise that the next lecture-discussion of the Israel branch of the Jewish Historical Society of England should be Benjamin Disraeli: Britain’s Jewish (?) Prime Minister. Until the age of 12, Disraeli was Jewish, and in later life never denied his Jewish roots which were so obvious in his name. Following a synagogue dispute, his father became an Anglican, and the young Disraeli grew up as such. He is nonetheless the only prime minister of England to have been Jewish at birth, and sections of British Jewry claim him as one of our own. The lecture will take place at 7:45 p.m. on Sunday, July 15, at Beit Avi Chai, 44 King George Avenue, and will be delivered by David Young.
■ IN THIS part of the world strange alliances are formed when confronting a common enemy. Aside from Iran and its terror-sponsored cohorts, the prevailing enemy in the region is drought. Lack of water is common to all the areas of the region and has led to cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians on several water-related issues. Evidence of this will be seen on Wednesday, July 18, at the EcoPeace Middle East Symposium on regional cooperation on reclaimed water that will held in the Handler Auditorium of the Truman Center on the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University.
The event will bring together Israeli and Palestinian decision-makers, experts and professionals from the private and public sectors from the fields of wastewater treatment and reuse. The conference will discuss centralized and decentralized wastewater treatment models and reuse opportunities, issues of public health, economy and shared environment.
The seminar will be conducted in Hebrew and Arabic with simultaneous translation into English. The event has been organized with the support of the Swedish International Development Agency.