Research Projects

Building Visions for the Future of Jerusalem: A Bottom Up Approach

 “Building Visions for the Future of Jerusalem: A Bottom Up Approach” is a three-year Leonard Davis Institute (Hebrew University) and Israel-Palestine: Creative Regional Initiatives (IPCRI) collaboration. The project engages residents of East and West Jerusalem, urban planners, students, women, youth and local leaders to work together to shape the current and future reality of their neighbourhoods and the city as a whole. Urban planning and formal negotiations on Jerusalem have generally ignored the voices of residents in particularly marginalized and diverse communities living within the city. This project aims to dignify diverse voices, enhance knowledge of the complexity of Jerusalem and contribute towards a constructive public and civil society engagement on the future of the city. The project includes surveys of residents of Jerusalem, mapping of local needs, community projects and increased efficacy of local residents of Jerusalem in shaping the reality of the city.
In its first stage, the project engaged residents of different Jerusalem neighbourhoods to generate equitable solutions to local problems. The project provides capacity building and utilizes participatory techniques to empower local communities and work with residents to create small interventions that can improve their reality. The community projects are decided by the residents and include creation of green spaces, public gardens and libraries, beautifying neighbourhoods and other initiatives or actions that are prioritized by the residents. We believe that focusing on current inequalities while building partnerships at the neighbourhood level can empower marginalized communities and answer some of their needs. 
In the next stage of the project, residents working in thematic groups will discuss wider issues of concern in Jerusalem. The thematic focus groups will highlight residents needs according to prioritized goals and grassroot input into discussion and visions on the future of Jerusalem. The thematic groups include: Youth and Education, Infrastructure and Local Cooperation, Local Political Leadership, Safety and Protection, and Gender. The thematic groups will produce policy papers and advise on urban interventions contributing to local input toward short and long-term solutions in Jerusalem. Through this approach we aim to engage and empower residents to work on local creative initiatives, increase knowledge of the complexities of Jerusalem and contribute towards a negotiated solution to the city.
This project is funded by the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Hebrew University and IPCRI and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.”
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Management & Research Team

Dr. Timea Spitka, Prof. Dan Miodownik, Liel Maghen, Tareq Nassar,
Sarah Abuarafeh, Dr. Jay Rothman and Noam Brenner
Building Visions for the Future of Jerusalem

The Geopolitics and Energy Research Group

Dr. Lior Herman

The Geopolitics and Energy Research Group (GERG) mission is to promote and advance research on the interrelations between energy and geopolitics in a variety of directions, and from a multidisciplinary perspective. Led by Dr. Lior Herman, GERG brings together scholars at different stages of their academic career from several disciplines, ranging from international relations and geography to communication studies and conflict resolution research. The Group provides a platform for discussion, research and learning aimed at advancing studies, while serving as a conduit for the development of research grants, thus promoting the funding of further research. It serves as a forum facilitating a professional network among Israeli and international scholars, as well as professionals working in this field.
The Geopolitics and Energy Research Group
The Group conducted extensive research activities in 2017-18, particularly in the areas of renewable energy and social acceptability, energy geopolitics, energy in contested and divided cities, and energy regionalism. These research activities were supported by several major research grants won by GERG members. The group also engaged in international collaborations and held public activities, which included research and policy seminars with leading scholars and practitioners from Israel and abroad  (e.g. Sweden, Spain, Germany, United Kingdom and the Netherlands). Throughout its public and  research activities, GERG has created a growing international network of some 150 members in Israel, Europe and beyond. Members in this network include academics, professionals, civil servants as well as civil society and other interested members.
Prof. Itay Fischhendler and Dr. Lior Herman represented the Davis Institute Energy Group at the
Technical University of Munich from June 30th to July 6th, and gave eight talks to faculty and students.

Monitoring Media Coverage: The Israel-Palestine Conflict and Political Dialogues

Prof. Tamir Sheafer, Dr. Shaul Shenhav, Mr. Yair Fogel-Dror, Ms. Vered Porzycki
The project aims to deliver post factum and real-time insights and analysis on the main trends of media coverage regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict and political dialogues. Special attention is given to international interventions in the conflict. 
Data is collected using a monitoring system that tracks media coverage from news websites in English all over the world, and will be made available for researchers, students, decision makers, journalists and the general public through an open-access website. 
In the last year, we have further developed and validated our computational methods for analyzing the news data. We have conducted several tests for potential categories and established potential measures to gauge media coverage regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict. Among our categories are general ones, such as the use of violence in the conflict, Israel and the Arab world; in addition to specific categories such as Palestinians’ organizations, the BDS movement and interventions of specific governments or international institutions. Our goal is to aggregate these measures into the “Davis index,” as a general measure for international intervention in the Israel-Palestine conflict. We have designed our system in a way that allows for periodic assessments in which we shall try to adapt our measures for specific requests by researchers. Our first meeting is planned for the summer and includes a researchers’ workshop followed by further development of discourse categories.
social-mediaOur method was presented at international conferences in the fields of Political Science and Communications. As detailed in our 2017 report, we have completed the necessary infrastructure for the collection of data on a massive scale, from a large number of sources – starting from 2014 to date. We have also started working on potential interfaces between our system and other infrastructures, both in order to expand the analysis with additional measures (e.g., events, geo-location) and also due to the significant maintenance costs of a long-term, fully functioning monitoring system. 

From STUXNET to ISIS: Exploring Cyber-Conflicts in the Middle-East

Dr. Amit Sheniak, Dr. Daniel Sobelman
Over the past academic year, Dr. Amit Sheniak of the Truman and Davis Institutes and the Hebrew University cybersecurity research center, and Dr. Daniel Sobelman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Department of International Relations, gathered an inter-disciplinary group of academics to establish a working group on cyber-conflicts in the Middle East. In the coming two years the group will set up a unique open-source database, consisting of all major cyber-events that have already occurred in the Middle East. The group plans to harness the  database in the service of academic publications on the rising topic of cyber-conflict in different regional and national contexts.  

Innovation Complementarities in FDI and Trade - Explaining Success and Failure, Organizational Learning and Form

Dr. Christian Thauer; Noa Swisa (MA) – PhD research student, DAAD Center for German Studies; Griffin Elbron (BA) MA student at DAAD Center for German Studies
The research group has focused on two particular goals this year. The first one concerns substance: the group conducted intensive research mapping of the institutional infrastructure between Germany and Israel, which allows firms and public policies to generate innovation complementarities. By innovation complementarities, the group understands different capabilities which concern the development of new traits (innovations: new ideas, technologies and products), manifested in institutional forms and environments of countries (Israel and Germany, respectively) that, in the context of each other (i.e., when interdependent), increase their value creating potential (i.e. generate increasing returns). Innovation complementarities may motivate international trade and foreign direct investment. For example, through investments and trade across institutional contexts – in our case, Israel and Germany –firms synchronize different innovation capabilities with each other and therewith increase their organizational value creating capacities. The questions we asked were accordingly: what institutional infrastructure exists between the two countries specifically dedicated to facilitating such complementarities? What institutional pathways could firms pursue if seeking to realize innovation complementarities? And what are the main obstacles on the way? Examples of such institutional infrastructure include the German-Israeli Chamber of Commerce activities to connect German firms to the Israeli startup market or similar programs from the Israeli Innovation Authority or Startup Nation Central. Addressing these questions, we managed to achieve a comprehensive mapping of this infrastructure through a.) secondary research; b.) interviews with German-Israeli, German, and Israeli public policy institutions; c.) firms that operate between Germany and Israel.
The second goal was to contact potential external funding agencies for a larger follow-up project and begin writing a funding proposal. We also progressed with respect to this specific goal. In January, PI Christian Thauer traveled to Guetersloh where he had a day-long meeting with the Israel desk of the Bertelsmann Foundation about future projects. 0n July 1st the group submitted a pre-project proposal to the Bertelsmann Foundation to work with the Foundation on a call for proposals for such a follow-up project.