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Friends of Givat Haviva April 2024 Newsletter


A Message From Michal Sella

Dear Friends,

Following the Iranian attack on Israel, we wanted to let you know where things stand at Givat Haviva and what it means for our ongoing activities. We are operating according to the instructions of the IDF Home Front Command. Specific instructions apply to Givat Haviva as a public and educational facility. 

Classes at the International School have been suspended for the next two days, in accordance with these instructions. The school faculty and staff are working to adapt the academic schedule to the circumstances and the students' exam schedule. We have experienced similar events in the past, and the entire school staff is doing everything necessary to ensure the safety and welfare of the students who remain on campus.  

Otherwise, despite the security situation, Givat Haviva can operate as usual. We are holding our scheduled programs, although with intensified safety measures, following our convictions that it is important to go on with life as usual. Our community is a source of strength and support for all of us. We hope that after the Eid el-Fitr celebrations at the end of last week and in anticipation of Passover, we will see safer days ahead, without escalation. 

Givat Haviva will continue to work for a better future for all of us, with a shared determination for peace in our region. 


Ramadan is over, Easter has passed, and Passover is just ahead. Fortunately, the grim predictions of tension and violence within Israel over the war in Gaza did not come true. Once again, we see that the pain and violence of this period have not caused Israeli civil society – Jews and Arabs – to incite violence within Israel. The attempts to plant more hate and violence among us have failed. 

The government coalition, however, continues to try to silence Arab society and damage its branch of the public education system. This past month, the coalition attempted to force security forces to track Arab educators, despite evidence that there is no need for such actions. We see that the real goal, as shown in the following report, is to scare, and silence Arab educators in Israel, and to prevent their (already limited) ability to respond as educators to the events of October 7 and the war in Gaza. 


We will continue to initiate and conduct programs that foster encounters between Jews and Arabs. Givat Haviva and Headquarters of The Guards of the Wadi Ara Partnership have led regional, social events to bring the residents of this mixed region together and to bring a bit of the spirit of Ramadan into the public space: distributing dates and Hamantaschen, conducting tours, and festivities for Ramadan Nights. Below we highlight a few of these programs. At Givat Haviva, we hope that by the time we send our next report, all the hostages will be returned home, and we will reach the much-awaited ceasefire.

Michal Sella


Will the General Security Services resume control over Israel's Arab education system?


The Netanyahu-Ben Gvir government continues its persecution of Israel's citizens. Just a week ago, a bill was brought before the Knesset Education Committee to intensify supervisory control over teachers suspected of supporting terrorism. The bill was proposed despite the opinion of professionals who fail to see teachers as a threat. The option currently exists to dismiss teachers misappropriating the power of their positions. There is no justification for the bill, except to persecute and silence Arab educators. The bill is still on the table, but the government failed to pass it during its winter session. As a shared society organization, we will continue to place pressure to prevent legislation of superfluous laws of this kind.


Various activities were conducted by Guards of the Wadi Ara Partnership and its headquarters during Ramadan, by the Muslim calendar, and Adar, by the Jewish calendar:


Due to the current challenges we placed tremendous importance on a series of joint actions in acknowledgement of Ramadan and the spring holidays. Despite the pervasive reality, we managed to hold meaningful meetings between Jews and Arabs, for children and adults, at Givat Haviva and in the surrounding areas. Activities emphasized the vital need to make more space to celebrate commonalities and to work together for a better future.


The emergency headquarters of the Guards of the Wadi Ara Partnership operates as part of the Arab-Jewish Center for Peace and is part of the Network of Emergency Centers established throughout Israel to prevent escalation and encourage shared society. The operation will continue throughout the year in cooperation with Jewish and Arab activists from the Wadi Ara region.


A moving and heartwarming evening marking Ramadan and Purim

Token gift with dates, Hamantaschen, and a greeting card with Ramadan fast schedule distributed at major Wadi Ara intersections

A joint Iftar meal with participants in the Arab-Jewish youth program, Heart to Heart, together with parents

Ramadan evening tours and Iftar meals in Umm el-Fahm, together with dozens of participants from Arab and Jewish society


Prison of Thoughts, a photo exhibition at the international PHOTO IS:RAEL


We are proud to present the photo exhibition Prison of Thoughts. The exhibit shows the work of Jewish and Arab youth participants in the Through Other's Eyes program. It was on display until April 6 at the Enav Center in Tel Aviv as part of the international photography exhibition PHOTO IS:RAEL.


The exhibition is the culmination of a fascinating and inspiring journey the youth experienced together. This journey took them to the edges of Israel and to the heart of Israeli society, from the Hula Valley in the north to the desert in the south, from the homes and communities of each and every one of them to the shared and character-defining encounter.


Through the camera lens, youth shared with us the fears, dreams, hopes, and doubts preoccupying them. They confronted complex issues like identity, belonging, and shared prejudices while creating open and mutually respectful dialogue.


The program, Through Other's Eyes, began 24 years ago and continues to provide Jewish and Arab youth with a unique opportunity to embark on a journey of revelation, connection, and shared lives through photography. The exhibition is not just a glance at the inner worlds of youth but a powerful, emotional call for a better society based on tolerance, understanding, and partnership.


You can see the exhibit on the festival website.


The Givat Haviva Shared Art Center


The Residency Program, Concluding Exhibition: Memories from an Imagined Space

March 29, 2024 – May 25, 2024


The unique residency program at the Givat Haviva Shared Art Center, bringing together 10 young Jewish and Arab artists, concluded this year with a fascinating group exhibit, Memories from an Imagined Space. The exhibit displays the work created by the artists over three months of shared living, creating, and learning. The program, at the conclusion of its second annual cohort, provides a unique opportunity for artists to live and work together in a supportive and inspiring environment.  


The program staff includes a team of mentors, representing respected and experienced artists in Israel, who accompany the program participants throughout the residency program. The mentors help them develop their talents and express their artistic vision.


The exhibit, Memories from an Imagined Space, invites the observer into a shared creative space where Jewish and Arab artists create art together, amidst their confrontation with the complexity of identity and culture.


Participating artists: Aviv Keshet, Eram Aghbarih, Ashwaq Maree, Baylasan M. Karim, Ben Alon, Hadas Almagor, Jonathan David, Malak Manzour, Noa Kornick, Obayda Dahly.


Curator: Dalia Manor

Opening: April 13, 2024

Location: Givat Haviva Art Gallery

Consider yourselves invited!

Entry is free of charge!

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