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Dear Friends and Partners,
Another month passed, in which it seemed like we at Givat Haviva live in two parallel worlds: in the world "outside" the sky is dark – terror and fear along with incitement and reciprocal injury lead to radicalization and mistrust of any Jewish-Arab partnership; in "our world,” here at Givat Haviva, there is very intense activity of partnership and education, Arabic and Hebrew studies, empowerment and development of Arab society, creation and development. Here you can read about our activities of the last month in a nutshell. It is difficult to convey briefly the huge gap between our optimistic and hopeful engagement in constructing a shared society in Israel and the external forces working to dissolve this partnership. Nevertheless, we lose nothing by having faith in our path, and confidence that the seeds we bury every day will grow a different future here – one more just, more truthful, more fitting, more equal. A future of peace.
Yaniv Sagee
Executive Director, Givat Haviva
Housing Minister Yoav Galant and Deputy Interior Minister Meshulam Nahari dignified the inauguration of the Mayors’ Forum with their presence. The Mayors’ Forum, composed of Mayors of Jewish and Arab municipalities in the Wadi Ara region, was established to promote joint projects for the benefit of the region’s residents and to promote a shared society. The inauguration conference was attended by representatives of the municipalities of Megiddo, Maale Iron, Umm al-Fahm, Ara-Arara, Basma, Kafr Kara, Manasseh, Pardes Hanna, Baka el-Garbiya, Jat, Emek Hefer, Zemer, Alona, and Binyamina-Givat Ada.
The event was also attended by members of the Knesset Reuven Eyal Ben (the Zionist Camp) and Yousef Jabarin (the Joint List), heads of the Knesset lobby for coexistence. Mazen Ghanaym, chairman of the Arab Mayors’ Committee, and Ayman Seif, director of the Economic Development Authority in the Arab sector, also took part.
“The vast majority of Arab citizens of Israel want to live a life of peace, work, creativity and economic prosperity," said Housing Minister Yoav Galant. “This is clearly apparent over the 68 years of the State’s existence. Both populations were subject to difficult tests over the years, and they came through together not badly at all. The key to continued success is economic success and the well-being of the Arab population. The more the situation of the Arab population improves, the better the situation of the Jewish population will be. "
The Megiddo – Maale Iron partnership summed up their first year of activity with a two-day seminar in Nazareth, attended by the mayors and the leadership teams from the municipalities. At the seminar, they discussed the many accomplishments from the year, as well as the challenges they face in the year ahead, and ways to approach these. The mayors and partnership teams expressed satisfaction with the project’s progress thus far, and with the good working relations that have developed between parallel officials in both municipalities.
In the Zemer – Emek Hefer partnership, the Zemer Local Council hosted the leadership team from Emek Hefer. The meeting included representatives from business, civil society, and the public sector from both municipalities, and was part of the process of getting acquainted and laying the foundation for municipal cooperation.
The Education Department had an exceptionally busy month, as approximately a thousand students from all over Israel took part in encounter programs at Givat Haviva during February! The campus was constantly full of Jewish and Arab pupils, who came to meet and get to know each other through Givat Haviva’s dialogue programs. In addition to the one and two day encounters, nine Jewish and Arab pairs of classes in the region, from Menashe, Kafr Kara, and Baka el-Garbiye, embarked this month on joint project-based learning, led by their 18 teachers who completed the Regional Educators for a Shared Society training course which began this fall. The students in each pair of classes will plan and carry out a project together, which will be presented in a summit day for all the students, their teachers, and parents in a Jewish-Arab student summit near the end of the school year.
In other news, the State of Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, and the state of Israel signed a joint declaration of intent concerning the expansion of their cooperation in the field of education, and named Givat Haviva as one of the potential partners for implementation of the programming. The cooperation is to involve schools, universities, and commemorative work, including exchanges between educators.
The Ministry of Education gave the “Yihyeh B’seder: Hebrew Language Enrichment Program” their hoped-for seal of approval in the form of a two-year plan to expand the program nationwide to the Haifa, North, Central, and South regions of Israel, reaching almost all of the Arab junior high schools in the country, and doubling the hours of instruction per class. This will mean an eight-fold increase in the number of students reached by the program over the coming two years. The program staff at Givat Haviva has begun accelerated recruitment of new teachers for the expansion, and production of more pedagogical material is underway.
As part of the “Yihyeh B’seder” program, the Musmus Junior High School held a Hebrew Language Day on Feb 23 for the whole school. Each class prepared a station of Hebrew language activities in their classroom for the rest of the school to visit and delivered a presentation in Hebrew before a jury of two teachers and two students who graded the production. The classes’ topics included tolerance, animals, professions, outer space, food, racism, and famous Islamic scientists and mathematicians. The children also heard presentations in Hebrew from a team of firefighters and an emergency first-aid provider. The school principal, Hassan Mahajne, the Yihyeh B’seder program instructor, Noam Raz, the school’s other Hebrew teachers and the rest of the school faculty worked together to make a fun, educational, and inspiring day for the whole school.
Here is a link to a video produced by one of the classes:
Hebrew Language Day at Musmus Middle School
Arabic: Our English and Hebrew speaking students of Arabic went on a joint tour of the Galilee, visiting and learning about the many diverse cultures and religions in the area: Circassians, Druze, Muslim, Christian, Bahai, and Jewish visiting cultural and historical sites throughout the Galilee and Haifa. Impressively, the tour was conducted completely in Arabic, to the delight of both the students and the residents of the neighborhoods and sites visited.
Art: Through Others Eyes participants had their first home visit in Baka el-Garbiyya, where they visited, met, and photographed the homes and families of two of the students. The next visit will be to homes in Karkur.
The Art Center team said goodbye to departing Art Center Director Etti Amram with a trip in the area through the local joint tourism initiative, “Marvad Yarok”.
Copyright © 2016 Givat Haviva Israel, All rights reserved.

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