Association for the Establishment of the France-Israel Foundation
1.What is the France-Israel Foundation?
The France-Israel Foundation came into existence because both States wanted to promote closer ties between the French and Israeli peoples.
When Ariel Sharon visited France in July 2005, President Chirac and the Israeli Prime Minister decided to establish a foundation to promote ties between French and Israeli society in every sphere of cultural, economic and academic life.
The Foundation, which has the backing of the public authorities, will have its headquarters in France. It will be run autonomously and will be a legally-recognized association. It will encourage, support and promote projects in the economic, social, cultural, academic, scientific and technological spheres.
The Foundation is expected to be up and running by spring 2006.
2.Why a France-Israel Foundation?
France and Israel have a unique relationship based on close ties between our two peoples rooted in the past, and a shared culture, which is reflected in the large number of French-speakers in Israel.
For all that, French and Israelis don’t really know each other that well. The perceptions they have of each other are confused, and public opinion fails to reflect the diversity and nature of the values they share.
That is why, within the civil societies of both countries, work needs to be done which draws on the successes of French-Israeli relations.
3. What does the France-Israel Foundation do?
The Foundation operates through direct actions or by supporting nongovernmental actions, focusing primarily on furthering cooperation in the economic, social, cultural, academic, scientific and technological spheres.
The Foundation will have four missions:
improving the French and Israelis’ perceptions of each other by keeping them informed about the reality and solidity of their relations;
developing and strengthening ties between the two societies in all areas;
encouraging and supporting cooperation between the two countries by ensuring that existing initiatives are successful;
promoting and relaying in France events relating to Israel, and vice versa, giving them a high profile and emphasizing clarity.
To maintain the historical continuity of the ties between the two countries and in particular the thinking of the High-Level Group;
To keep the focus on the long-term and ignore the ups-and-downs which occur in relations between States;
To anchor the Foundation in civil society by having people from all walks of life participate and be represented: men and women from political and economic life, intellectuals, academics, scientists, heads of organizations and associations;
to act vis-à-vis younger generations so as to enhance their reciprocal knowledge and mutual understanding which are lacking today;
to seek the input of major financial and industrial operators in both countries to support economic and trade cooperation;
To take action to promote the French language in Israel and cultural relations between both societies;
To provide strong stimulus to scientific and technological cooperation and to industrial innovation in which both countries excel.
Spring 2006: celebration of the founding of the France-Israel Foundation in Paris
Launch of the Foundation’s Internet site
Week-long celebration of French-Israeli friendship in Paris
· Seminar on the successes in French-Israeli economic and technological cooperation
· Coordination of a raft of initiatives by associations and existing non-governmental actors in all areas of cooperation - medical, industrial, cultural, academic, sports, etc.
· Public information campaign to spread the word about French-Israeli friendship week in the media (programmes on the economy, society, literature, cinema, music, and so on)
· A gala evening in honour of the launch of the Foundation
Autumn 2006: celebration of the founding of the France-Israel Foundation in Israel
Gala evening in Jerusalem in honour of the launch of the Foundation
Seminar on Francophony, in partnership with the University of Netanya
Visit to Israel by a delegation from MEDEF (French employers’ association)
The Foundation will also organize in 2006 a colloquium at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to celebrate the centenary of Dreyfus’ rehabilitation.
The Foundation will also act as a facilitator for projects by supporting throughout the year a number of initiatives organized by existing actors in French-Israeli relations.
4. Organization of the Foundation
Members of the board of the association prefiguring the France-Israel Foundation:
Cyril Benoit, treasurer
Jacques Huntzinger, chairman
Joseph Roubache, secretary-general
Commissions of Experts:
The purpose of the commissions of experts is to attract initiatives, evaluate projects and make decisions on the award of patronage and/or Foundation financing for projects in preparation
Three commissions will be established and will be operational in January 2006:
a commission for economic and trade affairs,
a commission for cultural and academic affairs,
a commission for scientific and technological matters.
The Honorary Committee is composed of a number of prominent individuals including:
David de Rothschild
(French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, December 2005)