The William Davidson Foundation is seeking to nurture the connection between the American Jewish community and the State of Israel, both individually and collectively. We fund programs to advance knowledge and understanding of Israel through experiential learning and thoughtful policy analysis, while working to further the democratic and pluralistic values that are central to the Jewish state.

Our approach includes several elements and activities:

  • Funding initiatives that emphasize issues of pluralism and a shared heritage — encouraging and shaping discourse on pluralism and democracy within Israel, and creating bridges of understanding between diaspora and Israeli Jews;
  • Supporting travel and other experiential learning opportunities for non-Jewish intellectuals, leaders and academics in the United States through trips to and study in Israel;
  • Sponsoring fellowships and collaborative, solutions-oriented scholarship that offers analysis and approaches to both U.S. and Israeli government representatives, policy analysts and Jewish and non-Jewish citizenry;
  • Encouraging student-led educational efforts on college campuses to raise awareness and share and celebrate accurate information about Israel, her history, government and ongoing challenges.

Israel is the spiritual and cultural home for the Jewish people worldwide; Israel’s safety and security are of utmost importance. We believe that increased understanding of the complex reality of modern Israel forges strong bonds between the country and America’s Jewish and non-Jewish populations. These bonds positively influence general perceptions of the Jewish democratic state and have the potential to shape public policy, and further support Israel’s overall security and success. The Davidson and Wetsman families have been engaged with the dream and concept of the modern State of Israel since well before 1948; the strong belief that Jews have the right to self-determination in our ancestral homeland is central to the Foundation.

Unfortunately, limited exposure to and knowledge of Israel leads to misperceptions about Jewish life, values, culture, history, government and business priorities. It is contributing to a concerning bias in the United States and misinformation about Israel’s role and place in the world. Within Israel, societal divisions are greater than ever, and the changing demographics of the state make it essential to create understanding and connection across all divisions.

We value scholarship and thoughtful policy analysis, and believe that rational and well-presented research and personal experiences continue to eradicate the modern scourge of anti-Zionism, as well as build the State of Israel. We also appreciate how travel to Israel on immersive experiences is life-changing, and creates deep personal awareness that stays with a person — Jew or non-Jew — for the rest of his/her life. We understand that change comes both from the individual and from the institution, and work to educate and engage both, as appropriate.