Values in Tension
Israeli society has undergone unprecedented turmoil this year, over the opposition to the government’s controversial proposed judicial overhaul, and then the horrific attacks by Hamas terrorists on October 7.
Now, more than ever, we encourage you to explore or revisit our timeless Values in Tension activity. It was crafted to help better understand views that differ from our own and recognize the shared values and nuance in opinions of all sides—with many of our differences lying in the way we prioritize them.
This activity does not seek to negate or gloss over significant ideological differences. Rather, it offers a portal into conversation that extends beyond specific disagreements, aimed at finding common ground and building bridges, despite our differences.
PART 1: VALUES ACTIVITY
1. Divide into small groups and have each participant begin by turning over the Democracy card and share:
What does this value mean to me?
How is it expressed in my life? In North America? In Israel?
2. Set aside the Democracy card and introduce the Security card. Answer the same questions. Once both values have been discussed, reflect on the following:
What are examples of when these two values are in harmony, and when they are in tension?
How would you prioritize between the two values when they come into tension?
PART 2: VALUES IN TENSION
1. Select two additional values cards and repeat the exercise.
2. Now, organize all four values in order of personal priority.
3. Debrief: Compare and discuss similarities and differences around prioritization across the four values.
Where were you similar? Different?
Why did you prioritize certain values over others?
Time permitting, you can add rounds with additional cards and then ask everyone to prioritize all of the cards under discussion. When asking individuals to prioritize values, be clear that you are not asking them to choose a value nor come to a group consensus. Each of us holds multiple values, but when they come into tension, we must prioritize some over others.
PART 3: REFLECTION
Part of the exercise is to recognize that there are many different ways to think about individual values.
Review the remaining values cards and write your own values on the blank cards. Lay out the cards so all can be viewed and arrange them so that all values are ranked according to your own priorities.
What was easy about this activity? What was difficult?
Can someone share what they ranked first and/or last, and why?
Where were the areas of greatest common ground? Greatest divergence? What might we understand from these commonalities and differences?
PART 4: IMPLICATIONS
1. Think of a policy issue of concern to you.
2. Discuss a range of opinions/possibilities around
3. Identify specific values (and values in tension) that influence your views around this policy.
How is the conversation about this topic different/similar when framed within a values-based approach?