On March 12, a few days before elections for the 20th Knesset, a room full of young people joined us for a “What’s Happening?” event in Tel Aviv.

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This unique evening was jointly sponsored by WIZE, the movement to change the culture and night life among young people in Israel.

The event took place at the Ismi Salma bar, and included short talks from journalists and leading social activists alongside Taub Center researchers. Talks touched on a variety of aspects of Israeli life, from obstacles in the healthcare system to the many reasons that Israelis spend much more money than they earn.

There was also a screening of the short animated films designed by students in the Visual Communications Department at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, under the guidance of Itamar Daube and the distribution of infographic postcards designed by the Visual Communications Department at the Holon College of Technology under the guidance of Sigal Perelman and Bob Orel – all of which were based on Taub Center studies.

A tasting of the evening’s offerings:

Prof. Ayal Kimhi: “The Socioeconomic Threat to the Start-Up Nation”

Ayal Kimhi, Deputy Director of the Taub Center, presented the unacceptable gaps that are turning Israel into a world leader in innovations and entrepreneurship on the one hand, and on the other hand, a country ranked amongst the lowest in the Western world in terms of education and health. According to him, only a long-term investment in education will help Israel to close the gaps and remain a leader in high-tech.

Shaul Amsterdamski: “What Are You Paying For and Who Has an Interest – A Tale of the Healthcare System in Israel”

Shaul Amsterdamski, a journalist for Calcalist, spoke about the supplementary health insurance that almost every Israeli pays for by contributing to the health funds. Amsterdamski noted that  despite the sizeable amount of money contributed, those insured still have to pay out nearly $3 billion for surgeries and a variety of other treatments. In his words, there are many interested parties who want to be sure that the consumers continue to pay for surgeries and treatments from their pockets, even though public funds from taxes should cover these situations.

Eitan Regev: “Cost of Living: How Do Israelis Make Ends Meet?”

Eitan Regev, Taub Center researcher, presented different factors that influence the cost of living. Among them, he pointed to price differences, which have increased between Israel and other Western countries, complex bureaucracy, and the absence of infrastructure, all of which seriously harm growth and advancement possibilities for the country.

Narkis Alon: “So What Do We Do With This?”

Narkis Alon, social entrepreneur and founder of the ZEZE social project and the Elevation Academy, requested that the audience not vote out of habit or social pressures but that people read up and look into what the parties say and what is closest to their beliefs. She called for real engagement, for creating visions and long-term thinking regarding the effects of voting now on what will happen in the next 20-30 years.

Hila Korach: “How Can We Make Politicians Stick to Their Promises?”

Hila Korach, a journalist for Ma’ariv and host of Channel 2’s morning show “The World This Morning,” encouraged the audience to use data that is independent (like that of the Taub Center) and sites that present information on Knesset member activity, and warned of being drawn to slogans and campaign promises. In this way, Korach said, it is possible to form an overall perspective on what is really happening in the country.