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1800-20-90-20

President’s Letter

Students, alumni, members of the academic staff, members of the administrative staff, members of the Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee NPO, honored guests

In his famous Speech of the Tribes, which President Reuven Rivlin gave on the first anniversary of taking up office, he accurately described “the new Israeli order” which is evolving before our very eyes. In the 1990s Israeli society comprised a clear and solid majority, with minority groups. This meant a large state Zionist majority, with three minority groups alongside it: the national religious public, an Arab minority and a haredi (ultra-orthodox) minority.

This image may have frozen in the minds of the majority Israeli public, and in the media and the political system however, in the meantime, the reality has changed completely. Today, first grade classes are made up of 38% secular (“State”) children, around 15% national religious (“State Religious”), around a quarter of the citizens are from the Arab sector and close to a quarter are from the haredi sector.

Figures and definitions, said Rivlin, are dynamic, and identities, like birthrate levels, do not stand still.

The Council for Higher Education has engaged, and continues to engage, in drawing special groups to higher education. These are groups with significantly lower percentages, than the rest of the population, who take on higher education – the haredi sector, members of the Arab sector, residents of periphery regions, members of the Ethiopian community.

The higher education system has to consider the next stage: how to administer a diverse campus comprising groups who, until now, have played a very limited role in higher education.

The solution lies in the Israeli Hope in Academia program.

Israeli Hope is the main program which aims to create dialogue between the different sectors, involving all parts of the population, in areas of education, academia, employment and sport.

The Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee offered to participate in the program, and was deemed to be suitable for the requisite support and resources.

As such, I would like to announce that, from the 2016-17 school year, a steering committee for the Israeli Hope in Academia program will begin to work at the college, headed by Dr. Ricki Galia who will chair the committee. In addition, Hila Barkan has been appointed as the institutional representative for the program. Both will act as contacts for all matters relating to the inclusion and promotion of heterogeneity on the campus.

I am confident that the Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, as an academic institution with a diverse human fabric, will serve as a role model for the values of the Israeli Hope in Academia program which believes in tolerance, pluralism and democracy.

I would like to wish us all a study year of hope.

Best wishes,
Prof. Shimon Gepstein