The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

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Shai Lavi

Chief Operating Officer

Shimon Alon

Assistant to the Director

Zippi Hecht


The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute (VLJI) is a leading intellectual center for the interdisciplinary study and discussion of issues related to philosophy, society, culture, and education. The institute gives expression to the wide range of opinions in Israel and takes particular pride in its role as an incubator and a creative home for many of the most important civil society efforts to enhance and deepen Israeli democracy.

The Institute was founded in order to advance knowledge in the realms of philosophy, society, and culture. Since 1959 it has operated as a center for advanced studies and for public discourse about ideas and social issues. Its intellectual and research goals are rooted in its commitment to public responsibility and civil ethics. The Institute plays a central role in important and socially sensitive fields, touching on the main foci of tension in Israeli society. The contribution of a core of renowned scholars at the institute has made possible the successful implementation of reforms and new approaches in formal and informal education, policy studies, civil empowerment, and cultural diversity.

The Institute continues to realize its vision in the areas of culture, identity, and social unity.


- to be an incubator for innovative ideas in the humanities and social sciences - to foster excellence in research and to use research findings for the public good - to promote humanistic, democratic, and liberal values in social discourse in Israel - to define and shape the public discourse and to point out alternative ways of thinking about current topics

The Polonsky Academy for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, established by Dr. Leonard Polonsky, is dedicated to the funding and promotion of outstanding international research in the humanities and the social sciences.

Each year, the Polonsky Academy at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute awards up to six postdoctoral fellowships, tenable for up to five years, to outstanding international scholars working in any field of the humanities and social sciences.

The Polonsky Academy is committed to providing an environment for research excellence. Fellows work under the best possible conditions for innovative research, including professional autonomy, a scholarly community, and a highly efficient network dedicated to supporting fellows in the pursuit of their academic goals.