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September 2023 Newsletter


givat haviva logo with the name in hebrew. arabic and english

 

A message from CEO Michal Sella

Dear friends,


As we find ourselves in the midst of another Jewish New Year and its accompanying holidays, our steadfast hope, as always, is for a year filled with sweetness, collaboration, and peace. However, this period stands out unlike any other, as we earnestly wish for all of us, every citizen of Israel, to have the privilege of experiencing another year in which Israel remains a democracy and retains its ability to self-correct.


I never imagined I would be offering such a New Year's greeting in Israel, but these times compel us to acknowledge the powerful forces within Israeli society that are striving to bring about lasting changes in our nation's identity. Israel has never been a flawless democracy; the journey toward that ideal has been long and arduous. But we can only embark on this path of enhancing democracy and equality if we maintain a functional system of law capable of overseeing and balancing the government's actions. Without a functioning legal system, the citizens of Israel will lose their ability to express their opinions, criticize, be heard, and participate equally in shaping our state and society.

This past year has been one in which Arab society has faced daily hardship. Escalating crime and violence have plunged Arab society into despair, while the government and the police have remained passive observers. In recent months, a new voice of protest has emerged, urging Jewish society to join hands with Arab society in calling upon the government to combat this surge in crime and violence. Givat Haviva takes immense pride in being part of this struggle, standing shoulder to shoulder with our Arab colleagues and the entire Arab community. Together, we demand that the coming months bring a gradual reduction in crime and violence. This can only happen if the government and the police allocate the necessary resources and commit to restoring normalcy to the lives of millions of Israeli citizens, particularly those living in fear within Arab towns.


May this New Year be a sweet and joyous one – "shana tova u'metuka" – for all, as we collectively shine a light on the path ahead.


Michal Sella

Executive Director

מיכל סלע מנכ"לית

ميخال سيلع مديرة عامة


 

Saving Public Education – An Urgent Conference


Watch the lecture (in Hebrew) above


In August, just prior to the start of the school term, Michal Sella delivered a lecture in Hebrew titled "How to Address Discrimination in Public Education and Strengthen Democracy" at an emergency conference. Approximately 500 educators, teachers, students, social activists, and members of Knesset gathered to deliberate on how to preserve public education. The pressing concern was not solely the commencement of the new school year but also the safeguarding of the public school system's democratic and discrimination-free nature. This conference was a collaborative effort involving The Marker Online, the Public School Guard of Givat Haviva, the Berl Katzanelson Foundation, IDEA: The Center for Liberal Democracy, and Hechalutz Movement – Hamidrasha at Oranim.


 

Partners in Protest


Protesters filling the streets holding signs and marching


The March of the Dead for Life – Arab Society Protests Crime and Violence


In early August, thousands of Jewish and Arab citizens came together to march through the streets of Haifa in the "March of the Dead for Life." The aim of this march was to resoundingly convey the message: the lives of Arab citizens are not to be forgotten. Demonstrators called for a refusal to accept the government and police's negligence in addressing crime and violence within Arab society. From the beginning of the year until the time of writing these words, the number of victims who lost their lives to crime and violence in Arab society has tragically reached 177.

This march is part of an ongoing civic protest campaign led by the People's Forum, initiated by the Bokra news group. The campaign has the support of victims' families, hundreds of activists and volunteers, professionals, mayors, and a wide array of Arab, Jewish, and mixed-society NGOs. Givat Haviva takes pride in being a member of the People's Forum and remains committed to supporting the just struggle of Arab society and the affected families.


 

The Jewish-Arab Center for Peace

 

A group of Jewish and Arab teachers standing in a circle laughing

Expanding Our Network of Dialogue Group Facilitators Amidst Government Efforts to Suppress Shared Society Messages


This month, 20 dialogue group facilitators completed an intensive, joint training program alongside 25 seasoned facilitators at the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva. Despite government policies aimed at stifling discourse and promoting a shared society within the education system, we have chosen a different path. This year, we are doubling our network of facilitators in response to the growing demand for dialogue groups and Jewish-Arab discourse in schools. We take pride in the increasing numbers of educators and Jewish and Arab schools throughout Israel that choose to offer their students the opportunity to engage respectfully and constructively with one another, gaining a personal understanding of the ideals and essence of a shared, democratic, and egalitarian society.


 

a group of mediators standing around a table holding their diplomas

Mazal tov: 23 mediators completed an intensive course in Peki'in

The Mediation Center in Peki'in, the fifth such center launched as part of our project to establish local mediation centers in Arab towns, has achieved a significant milestone. This month, 23 dedicated mediators from Peki'in successfully completed an intensive training program with an emphasis on community strengths, familiarity with local culture, and the ability to play a preventive and explanatory role in combating crime in Arab society.

These volunteer mediators operate within the mediation centers, established in collaboration with local authorities, with the support of judges from the Druze and Shariya religious courts who oversee and participate in mediator training.


 

a woman painting  on a large canvas with blue

Summer continuing education course, combining shared society and art

A second group of 20 educators recently completed a unique continuing education course offered by the Education Department at the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva, in conjunction with our Shared Art Center. This course delved into the use of art as a tool for conveying social and educational messages.

 

Shared Language Program: Celebrating the program’s 10th Year, and Launching an Education Course for Teachers


As we celebrate the program's 10th year, we are proud to announce the launch of a continuing education course for 40 teachers. The "Shared Language" project, undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, has enabled Arab students to master the Hebrew language, breaking down language barriers and opening doors to higher education and the job market. Beyond language acquisition, the program fosters meaningful connections between teachers and students, transcending the boundaries of language learning. This year, we welcome 14 new teachers to the program, marking a 20% increase from last year's involvement with 69 schools and 73 educators, benefiting a total of 8,814 students.


teachers sitting in an auditorium listening to a speaker

In preparation for the new school year, our program conducted annual training for both new and experienced teachers at the Givat Haviva campus. The training included a workshop led by Renana Oron, a prominent educator from the Teach First Israel program, dedicated to improving education in the periphery and narrowing social disparities in Israel. Additionally, our program's teachers participated in an intensive workshop about the education system in Arab society, led by Dikla Tomer Kayall and Yara Baloum from the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva. The training also introduced a new pedagogical program for the upcoming school year.


 

The Arabic Studies Institute Celebrates its 60th Anniversary

Givat Haviva is immensely proud of the extensive work carried out by the Arabic Studies Institute and its professional team. For six decades, the Institute has continued to attract Israelis from all walks of life who aspire to learn the Arabic language and contribute to building bridges of hope for a shared future.

 

people browsing in an art gallery

The Shared Art Center

A New Exhibit at the Givat Haviva Art Gallery – Feel at Home

Curators: Avner Zinger and Anat Lidror

Curated by Avner Zinger and Anat Lidror, the group exhibit titled "Feel at Home" delves into the deceptively simple yet profoundly complex invitation to "feel at home." These words uttered so naturally, hold intricate meanings, especially in Israeli society and among diverse segments of the population today.


Can we truly feel at home in someone else's abode? Can we find comfort in our own skin? In the physical spaces we inhabit? In our actions? In our society? Our society, our nation, and the world as we know it today?


Though Jewish and Arab societies are interwoven by countless threads that continue to bind us and foster connections, each society may at times feel that the other is not actively participating in their respective struggles. In reality, these struggles are interconnected facets of a singular, shared endeavor—a battle in which we all participate.


three people looking at am art piece on a table

 

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