In the coming years, we plan to expand and deepen our activities in the field of Jewish-Arab partnership and focus on developing regional shared society processes. The vision that guides us is:
Creating an active and prosperous Arab-Jewish community that enables a safe and welcoming public space through cooperation, mutual respect for diverse identities, and finding joint solutions to common needs and challenges.
In the Negev, we have already begun to implement this vision, and we are working to create a partnership for shared education from Kindergarten to 12th grade with a comprehensive regional approach, with the support of local authority heads, mayors, and local councils in the Negev.
We were recognized by the Be’er Sheva Municipality as an “Excellence Center for Shared Society”, with activities founded in multicultural encounters. The Center deals with the development of knowledge, training, and operation programs and encouraging cultural initiatives for children, youth, educators, and the general public.
In each age group, topics are selected for shared study within classes in Jewish and Arab schools, according to the level of language and development of the children. In middle schools, for example, the first phase of the initiative focuses on joint learning of the English language for Jewish and Arab students. This choice is based on the desire to turn a common difficulty into a common interest, and to use English as a bridge for communication and equalizing medium, as both sides, Jews and Arabs, have no significant advantage over the other side in terms of their level of English.
In younger age groups, learning focuses on more age-appropriate shared topics, such as theater or introduction to robotics. The program includes a combination of non-formal education methods within the framework of formal education, in order to provide students with a comfortable environment that allows for learning and dialogue, as well as different types of meetings: single-identity group meetings where students can discuss any fear or prejudice without concern or discomfort, and joint, dual-identity group meetings that help overcome misconceptions and prejudices by achieving similar goals and interests.