Values in Tension

Since January 2023, Israeli society has undergone unprecedented turmoil over the government’s proposed judicial overhaul, with massive protests and strikes against the legislation, as well as some modest protests in favor. Each side believes that their cause is just, sometimes expressing a feeling that they share few values with those opposing them. 

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.


1. Where possible, divide into small groups of 2-5 to ensure each participant has a voice in the activity.

2. Have each participant begin by turning over the Democracy card and sharing:

    • What does this value mean to me?
    • How is it expressed in my life?
    • How is it expressed in North American society?
    • How is it expressed in Israeli society?

3. Set aside the Democracy card and introduce the Security card. Answer the same questions.

4. Once both values have been discussed, reflect on the following:

    • In North American and in Israeli society, what are examples of when these two values are in harmony, and when they are in tension?
    • How would you place the two values in order of priority when they do come into tension?


1. Select the Diversity card and Equality card and repeat the exercise.

2. Now, prioritize all four values.

    • By sharing each person's ranking of the four values, we see that even within small groups, there can be great diversity.

3. Debrief: in small groups, compare and discuss rankings across the four values.

4. Reflect on the following:

    • Where were you similar?
    • Where were you different?
    • Why did you prioritize certain values over others?
Please Note:

It is important to stress that participants are not being asked to CHOOSE a value. Rather, this activity offers an opportunity to PRIORITIZE values, and to consider how they coexist. Each of us can (and do) hold multiple values, but when they come into tension, we must prioritize one over the other.


Review the remaining values. Continue to think about what they mean and how each participant might prioritize them all together, so that all eight values are integrated and ranked according to your own priorities.

    • What was easy about this activity?
    • What was difficult about this activity?
    • Can someone share what they ranked first and/or last and why?
    • Where were the areas of greatest common ground?
    • What were some areas of notable divergence?
Please Note:

It is NOT important or desired for the group to arrive at a consensus on a definition/meaning of the value. Part of the exercise is to recognize that there are many different ways to think about individual values.


1. Think of a policy issue in North America or in Israel that concerns you.

2. Discuss the range of opinions/possibilities about this issue.

3. Identify the specific values (and values in tension) that influence your views about this policy.

    • How is the conversation about this topic different/similar when framed within a values-based approach?

תחנות יסוד קשורות בתחום החינוך לישראל

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