The fourth annual Ramle conference next Tuesday, the day after Passover ends, will discuss the issue of use and responsibility for land in Israel
The conference is co-sponsored by the Torah Core Group in Ramle, the Municipality of Ramle and the Kommemiyut Organization, with the objective “create a framework and basic infrastructure for discussion based on Torah and on the variety of opinions present in Israeli society… The very fact that it is held in Ramle, which is one of Israel’s mixed cities [Jews, Christians and Muslims], is an expression of support for the city and its residents in dealing with a challenge that exists here specifically and in our country in general.”
The first session of the day, beginning at 10:30, will discuss the subject of who has rights to open areas – does the land belong to the government or private citizens? The panel will discuss the ramifications of the issue from the political, legal and municipal standpoints and their relationship to basic values.
At the same session, a panel will tackle the issue of the standing of a non-Jew living in modern Israel and his obligations.
The second session will discuss public policy, government land management and demographic trends in mixed Jewish Arab areas, raising the question whether a Jewish majority is needed in every community.
The imminent threat of a Bedouin takeover of southern Israel will be featured at another panel at the session, which will discuss “unrecognized” communities, the government euphemism for thousands of illegal Bedouin villages that dominate the Negev landscape.
Another topic in the same session is the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and whether it is supposed to represent the government or the people, with the lingering question of who is responsible for government land.
The annual Ramle Conference Prize will be awarded at the final session of the day, when principles concerning the subject of land will be debated. National Union chairman and Knesset Member Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz, Rabbi Zalman Melamed, rabbi of Beit El and head of the community’s yeshiva, and former National Security adviser Uzi Dayan, a founder of the annual Sderot Conference, are scheduled to appear at the panel.