“Do we have any capitalists in the audience?” asked Jonathan Hoenig, the keynote speaker at the sixth annual FreedomCon Israel, which was hosted in April by Israeli Freedom Movement and the Ayn Rand Center Israel. The conference has become a staple for the liberty movement in Israel, bringing together ministers, MKs of the Israeli government, academics, and students for a celebration of individual rights and free markets. This year’s conference, which was held in Jaffa, attracted 530 Israelis from 23 organizations, making it the largest FreedomCon Israel yet.
“The annual increase in attendees and the variety of organizations presenting in the conference are truly sources of hope and optimism,” explained Naftali Schindler of the Israeli Freedom Movement. “The $15,000 grant from Atlas Network helped fund the 4th, 5th, and 6th Freedom Conferences, bringing the cause to many more people we wouldn’t have reached otherwise.” The conference also attracted more media attention than ever before, garnering 13 instances of major national coverage and a live broadcast on Tel Aviv Radio.
The crowd heard think tank leaders and policy experts discuss the importance of liberty-focused solutions to their country’s problems. Using a TED Talk-style format, the Libtalks segment of the conference was a crowd favorite, highlighting the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in a free society while also pointing to gradual shifts in public opinion towards liberalism. Issues ranged from voluntary military service to lifting restrictions on Uber, providing the audience with a fresh perspective on matters that impact their daily lives.
The conference concluded with the presentation of the 6th annual Hero of Freedom Award, given to Adv. Moshe Nissim. Nissim, a former Israeli politician, minister, and Deputy Prime Minister was one of the most vocal critics of Israel’s socialist policies in the 1980s and was the first Finance Minister to ever lower taxes below 50%. Nissim has been a champion of liberty for several decades, and he inspired the crowd with his optimism and admiration for the liberty movement in Israel.
“We see that liberal ideas are reaching a growing number of the public, especially the younger generation,” explained Schindler. “The liberty movement is very strong and continues to grow in Israel each year.”