"BaShaar – Academic Community for Israeli Society” is a registered non-profit organization, established in 1999 by senior faculty members from all institutions of higher education in Israel.
Members of BaShaar share the conviction that a hundred and twenty years of modern Zionism and over 70 years of Jewish Statehood have yielded a high-level network of institutional, social, and cultural activities and outstanding educational, scientific, commercial, and industrial enterprises, upon which rest the very survival of the State of Israel.
All that has been achieved to date can continue to flourish only in an open, tolerant society at peace with itself and with its surroundings, a society where rational and democratic discourse prevails in the search for viable alternatives and modes of action. A critical component of such a society is a strong, independent, autonomous higher education system granted full academic freedom, yet closely connected with society at large.
Therefore, BaShaar’s goals are aimed at:
♦ Safeguarding the contribution of the academia to the prosperity and wellbeing of Israeli society for generations to come, in all aspects.
♦ Defending academic values and ethos within the higher education system and instilling them to the society at large by:
- Promoting the contribution of the academia to the prosperity of the Israeli society as an open, tolerant and democratic society; a society which engages in a rational discourse to meet its challenges and bases its action on critical thinking and facts.
- Encouraging a society which supports quality and innovative research and promotes knowledge and cherish culture while guarding the independence and pushing forward the excellence of the higher education system.
BaShaar operates both as an Educational Framework and a Platfor for Critical Discussion and Free Debates on issues of higher education and the Israeli society
- The Educational Framework: BaShaar initiates and operate various community outreach programs mostly in the geographical and social periphery in Israel. These include lectures by academic staff in schools and community centers; organizing “science days”; online channel providing answers to queries in all fields of science, as raised by teachers, students, pupils and the generally interested public.
- The Platform for Critical Discussions and free debates and exchange of ideas focused on core issues and challenges of the Israeli higher education system. These discussions concern matters of policy making, regulatory and governance issues, and the interrelationships among members of the higher education system, the public, decision makers and government officials.
These discussions are managed by the “Academic Forum” of BaShaar & Samuel Neaman Institute for National Policy Research – an apolitical forum, which organizes meetings, symposia and conferences to deliberate on these topics.
BaShaar is committed to providing rapid responses to ad-hoc issues pertaining to the higher education system as raised in current agenda and to raising the public’s awareness to them.
Today, BaShaar lists nearly 2,000 members, all of them are present or past senior faculty members, including presidents and rectors, Nobel Laureates and laurates of the Israel Prize from all institutions of higher education in Israel.
BaShaar is a non-political organization that operates outside any political framework.
The Chairperson of BaShaar is Prof. Hagit Messer-Yaron from Tel Aviv University, former Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Science, former President of the Open University and former Vice-Chairman of the Council for Higher Education.
Past BaShaar Chairpersons and co-founders are Prof. Zehev Tadmor, the former President of the Technion, and Prof. Hanoch Gutfreund, the former President of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.