May 26, 2017 Print

The fourth annual Freedom Conference in Israel aimed to make the classical liberal conception of liberty available to the general public, and to discuss burning issues in Israeli public discourse. This year’s conference, sponsored by the Israeli Freedom Movement (IFM) and Ayn Rand Center Israel, discussed the welfare state, freedom of expression, globalization, threats to privacy, the nature of freedom, and much more. Drawing 400 participants to Tel Aviv, more than half indicated in event surveys that this was the first freedom-related event they had ever attended.

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the Political Freedom Index award to Sharren Haskel, a member of the Israeli legislature Knesset who has an exemplary record of contributing to the cause of liberty in her legislative work.

“Haskel won the first place in a significant gap, thanks to a consistent presence in the general assembly in votes against anti-freedom bills,” IFM explained. “In addition, most of her bills are proposals that contribute to freedom. For example, she initiated the Decriminalization of non-Medical Cannabis Bill, and laws restricting the power of the Histadrut (Israel’s organization of trade unions) and the agricultural councils.”

The conference, sponsored in part by a grant from Atlas Network, was promoted by extensive marketing on social media and in media advertising, in effort to attract an audience of both long-time liberty activists and newcomers to such conferences. The marketing efforts included a viral social media campaign, which is where nearly 75 percent of participants heard about the event, according to an event survey. Posters placed at universities, colleges and high schools, and extensive advertising in the prominent online magazines Mida and TheMarker brought still more.

The event attracted 150 participants who are members of pre-army “Mechina” programs, which prepare high school graduates for service in the Israeli Army and contribute to Israeli society in other ways.

“This is significant because the IFM sees the exposure of liberal-classical messages to the younger generation as one of its main goals and of the Annual Freedom Conference,” IFM pointed out. “It should be noted that there was a high level of satisfaction among the audience, with 95.1 percent stating their intention to participate in the next Freedom Conference, and 100 percent stating that they intend to recommend future Freedom Conferences to friends and family members.”