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About the Forum

The National Library of Israel is in the midst of a transformative process of renewal. The aim of this process is to strengthen the relationship between the People of the Book and their books, while enhancing the dialogue between Israel and regional and world cultures. The Library will become a vibrant and influential intellectual center, playing a significant role in the cultural, social and spiritual life of Israel and the Jewish people. As part of this mission, the Library is establishing “The Global Forum of the National Library of Israel” which will meet bi-annually and be comprised of prominent leaders and creative thinkers from among the Jewish people and the world at large. The Forum’s discussions will address current dilemmas in light of wisdom derived from the Jewish bookshelf, a source of identity and inspiration which challenges and influences even contemporary agendas.

The Inaugural Gathering of the Global Forum of the National Library of Israel.
Photo Credit: Hanan Cohen, The National Library of Israel.


Since 1892 the National Library has been the main institution entrusted with protecting and preserving the spiritual riches of the State of Israel and of the Jewish people for future generations.  In this regard, the Library has accomplished much. The Library’s Judaica Collection, for example, is one of the finest in the world. However, the limitations of the Library’s physical location have resulted in it functioning mainly as a research library, serving the needs of a relatively small number of scholars and researchers.
The People of the Book, possessed of a tradition of outstanding intellectual achievements stretching over three millennia, have until now lacked a fitting home for their unique intellectual riches. No appropriate or accessible venue has existed that could play a relevant role in the life of the Jewish people, shaping their future, ensuring its cultural continuity and reinforcing its connections with the various diasporas.
This is about to change. The National Library has set out on a revolutionary process of renewal aimed at re-forging the connections between the People of the Book and their books.  In 2019, the Library will move to its new home (near the Knesset) and adopt advanced modes of operation and collection which will make it accessible and enable it to become a major force in the cultural discourse in Israel, the Diaspora and the world at large.


​The Library will become a vital intellectual center of scholarship, cultural life and spiritual endeavor. The Library will give vibrant and creative expression to the nature of the Jewish people as the People of the Book, and to the concept that the book, in its most profound sense, is the formative building block of Jewish identity.

The Library will become a center which will deepen the world’s acquaintance and identification with the intellectual and cultural heritage of the Jewish people, a heritage shaped over three millennia.

​The Library will contribute to the consolidation of a greater societal awareness of and familiarity with the depth and richness of Israeli, Jewish, regional, and worldwide cultural and intellectual endeavors.

The Library will provide a broad range of cultural programs and activities for Israel's diverse spectrum of national, religious and ethnic communities.

In cultivating the collections it holds, the Library will continue to emphasize the culture of Islam and the Middle East.  The Library's collections contain many rare and precious treasures in these realms.

The Library will strive to inculcate in the public the universal values of culture and books, and will continue to develop the many areas that comprise its Humanities collection.

The Library will partner with educational institutions in Israel and worldwide in developing innovative educational programs based on Library content.   

The Library will become a leading global provider of Hebrew digital content on Israel and Judaism.

The Library will foster use of the treasures it holds to facilitate the creation of new works.

The Library will make its new home and the virtual sphere it builds a dynamic hub of creation, culture and education.

The Library will consistently work to increase the number of readers using its physical and virtual services. The newest information technology will enable the Library reach out to extensive parts of the population in Israel, Jewish communities globally, and the world, including the Arab and Muslim world.

Photo Credit: Hanan Cohen, The National Library of Israel

 The Global Forum of the National Library of Israel

​Attaining these goals, which are vital to the continuity of Jewish culture, is no small task. Meeting this tremendous challenge will call for the assistance of the foremost leaders, scholars and creative thinkers in Israel and throughout the world. With this aim in mind, the Library’s board of directors has decided upon a bi-annual convention entitled “The Global Forum of the National Library of Israel.” The Forum discussion will address current dilemmas in light of the wisdom derived from the Jewish bookshelf and Israel's heterogeneous culture and society, a source of identity and inspiration which challenges and influences even contemporary agendas.

Seventy five participants, Jews and non-Jews from Israel and abroad, will be invited by the Library to take part in the Global Forum’s annual meeting.

​Professor Moshe Halbertal and Mr. Leon Wieseltier have consented to be the co-chairs of the Forum.

The Forum will meet in the National Library's new facility in Jerusalem. Until the new building is complete, the Forum will meet in an alternate venue.
Some discussions will be open to the public; others will be attended only by Forum members and the Library’s staff.

By virtue of their interest and atmosphere, the Forum’s meetings will assist the Library in defining cultural and universal aspects of its activity; creating cooperative projects to advance its vision; locating and procuring relevant collections; securing material resources, and creating a dialogue with international organizations from various nations, religions and cultures.

Due to the public standing and prestige of the Forum’s members, these discussions are expected to be a source of interest to many, both in Israel and abroad. The attention galvanized will act as a catalyst for realizing the tremendous potential embodied in the renewed National Library.