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An End and a Beginning
Two opposite processes occurring simultaneously characterized 2016. On the one hand an increasing extremism in political discourse, with racist bills introduced in the Knesset, bitter accusations against Arab society, and deepening fear and hatred. On the other hand very positive developments for civil society in the field of shared society and even a government decision that is supposed to lead to significant investment in Arab society. These two processes made their presence felt in our activities throughout the year. On the one hand, we had to deal with expressions of fear and hatred, while on the other hand Givat Haviva grew and expanded our activities significantly over the year: Our Education for a Shared Society programs expanded to include 5,000 children and youth; the Shared Communities partnerships expanded and deepened; “Yihyeh B’seder”, the Hebrew enrichment program for Arab schools, doubled its reach to more than 20,000 children; the number of students enrolled in “Bara’em Hi-tech” more than doubled; a 15% increase in enrollment in Givat Haviva’s Arabic studies; increased diversity and content in the Arts Center courses and programs; expansion of the programs for public engagement via conferences and creation of a “Roadmap for a Shared Society”; and more and more. Givat Haviva and its many activities received multiple prizes during 2016 in Israel and around the world, and is highly regarded in both Jewish and Arab society.
I would like to thank Givat Haviva’s wonderful team for the great effort over the past year, and to thank all of our friends, partners, and supporters in Israel and around the world. Our partnership with you is what enables us to do this great work. We enter 2017 with a deep sense of mission and belief in our ability to fulfill our purpose as a leading organization for building a shared society in Israel.
Yaniv Sagee
Executive Director, Givat Haviva
Givat Haviva’s Women’s Department wrapped up the year with a special highlight: The Women’s Shared Society Conference: Women Leading Social Change, attended by more than 300 women activists. Speakers at the conference included MK Aida Toma, head of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women, Dr. Dalia Fadili, Director of Al-Qasemi College, Ronit Heyd, Executive Director of Shatil, and leaders of the Women Wage Peace movement. The atmosphere was one of excitement and enthusiasm, far from the staid character typical of most conferences, as, following the speeches, the women spiritedly joined musicians singing in three languages. Kudos to Anhar Masarwa, Director of Women’s Programming at Givat Haviva, for conceiving of and organizing the inspiring and important event. Pictures from the conference can be viewed here.
More than 300 women participated in the Women’s Shared Society Conference: Women Leading Social Change
The five professional working groups in the Roadmap for a Shared Society project are in the last stages of finalizing their documents, detailing recommendations for concrete measures to create a shared society in Israel. Their conclusions, in the areas of education, economics, governance, land use, and cultural representation and restorative processes, will be presented at the Fifth Annual Givat Haviva Shared Society Conference on March 20, 2017. Save the date!
The year 2016 in the Zemer – Emek Hefer Partnership concluded with a festive lighting of the Hanukah candles with the two mayors, heads of municipality departments, and Givat Haviva management. The pair is working on activities for 2017, with the main emphasis on advancing the process of establishing a joint industrial park for the two communities. This is a complicated process, and is being assisted by a representative from the Ministry of Economics. In another initiative between Ruppin Technological College in Emek Hefer and Yama Technological High School in Zemer, a technical training program is being developed to prepare students, including those dropping out of high school, for careers in technical occupations needed by industry. These partnership initiatives have already led to job opportunities in Emek Hefer being directed to the population of Zemer. Teams working on welfare and community issues are also meeting and developing plans for cooperation.
Riad Kabha, Director of the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace, lights a candle during the meeting in Emek Hefer.
In the Megiddo – Maale Iron Partnership, progress is continuing for reclamation of the Wadi Miske stream and the construction of a joint stadium and commercial area. There was much activity in the arts, with funds earmarked for a half-time manager for the art center in Zalafe, and new exhibits opening in galleries in Maale Iron and Mishmar Haemek, featuring Arab women artists and a joint Jewish-Arab exhibit on the theme of olives. A project teaching Hebrew to women from Maale Iron was launched, and the year ended with a joint Hanukah celebration for seniors from the two communities.
Heads of the Welfare Department Heads in Emek Hefer and Zemer with Givat Haviva Shared Communities Coordinator Yael Ben-Tzvi
The agreement for a new partnership between Kibbutz Evron and the Mizraa Local Authority was signed in a gala ceremony, with leaders of the two communities and Givat Haviva staff that is guiding the process. Good luck to the newest Shared Communities partnership!
Itzik Cholevsky, Mayor of Megiddo Regional Authority, and Abu Mansour, Director of Maale Iron Golden Age Clubs at a Chanukah event for seniors of Megiddo and Maale Iron.
Schools responded to the invitation to one and two day Youth Encounter Programs with unprecedented enthusiasm this year, filling the calendar. New facilitators were trained to handle the volume, and as many have taken place so far this year as in all of last year! In December, when schools took their Hanukah and winter vacations, the facilitators met to discuss issues that arose so far and receive further training.
In educational programming in the Emek Hefer – Zemer partnership, a mixed group of teachers completed their training for teaching the Regional Geography pedagogy we developed, and the “Significant Learning” project is set to begin, in partnership with the Emek Hefer Industrial Park.
Students from Kfar Kasem and Maayan Hashahar, continuing their conversation on Shared Space during their breaks, and getting to know each other better
Preparation is also complete for this year’s Learning Together projects, set to begin in January. Our new shared education program for second grade, “Together in Art” was launched, with the first two pairs meeting for the first time. And the Children Teaching Children pairs continued their activities in both uni- and bi-national formats. Following a first bi-national meeting of a Jewish and Arab pair, one participant remarked, “I’m leaving this meeting feeling really happy, because I discovered that the negative stereotypes that were in my head are very far from the wonderful people I met today.” At this, the program co-director says, “It’s worth doing the work to hear a sentence like that.”
November and December were hectic months for the Youth Delegations, as well. This year, Givat Haviva sponsored three delegations between local communities and youth from Germany and Poland. The first delegation, ten students from Bartaa and ten from Katzir met with ten German youth from Frankfurt and ten Polish youth from the neighboring Slubice, Poland. This was an intense delegation, in which the Europeans visited here in early November, and the delegation from Israel returned the visit in late November. The delegation focused on the topic of refugees, and partnered with the organization Building Bridges. Highlights included a visit with German Jews in an seniors’ home in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, and tours of Berlin, with a focus on refugees of all four nationalities at the end of WWII. The second delegation was composed of 18 youth from Baka el-Garbiya and Menashe who are active in youth movements or as community volunteers, and 12 German youth from the Einstein Gymnasium in Berlin. They spent 5 days of intensive workshops on “Dictatorship and Democracies – The Fragile Border between Them” at the Kurt Loewenstein Institute (affiliated with the Falcon Movement), focusing on the GDR period and democracy in Israel, Germany, and East Europe. The return visit is planned for April. The third delegation, with 20 youth from Megiddo and Kafr Kara hosted their German and Polish peers for a week in December. The delegation, in partnership with Haus am Maiberg, focused on Dialogue Methods According to Martin Buber. They studied Buber’s biography and philosophy, met with his granddaughter and great granddaughter, Tamar Goldstein, a noted peace activist, and with Paul Mendes Flohr, an expert on Buber’s philosophy. In April, the Israeli youth will visit Heppenheim, where Buber was active.
“Yihyeh Bseder”: Hebrew Language Enrichment for Arab Schools marks another year of dramatic expansion, as the program now runs in all relevant junior high schools in the Haifa district, and has begun operating in 24 schools throughout the North, Central, and South educational districts as well, bringing fluency in spoken Hebrew and ongoing, positive encounters between Jewish instructors and Arab students and faculty to more than 20,000 students in 58 schools. The program teaches contemporary Hebrew for social, academic, and employment integration.
Bara’em Hi-Tech started its second year with 77 new students, along with the students who are continuing in their second year in the program. The fall semester is well underway, and the students have already experienced their first field trip to Galil Software in Nazareth for a first-hand view of what a high tech company is like from the inside.
The winter courses are underway at Givat Haviva’s Art Center, along with other special courses and events, including the new shared education program for second grade, “Together in Art”, a special Chanukah sketching marathon, and ongoing exhibits. The 2016 Through Others’ Eyes photography exhibit is traveling among the participants’ schools, where the participants lead activities for other students. This year’s “Through Others’ Eyes” class has begun meeting, and registration for a women’s “Through Others’ Eyes” group is underway as well.
The Arabic Studies Department continues to offer a full complement of classes this year, teaching Arabic to local Hebrew speakers and overseas students alike. December saw the completion of a special class beyond the usual curriculum, in spoken Arabic for doctors. Here is part of the moving testimony of one of the participants:
“It’s 2AM. An older man arrives at the emergency room, complaining of chest pains. He looks ill and frightened. And you stand before him helplessly, without the ability to communicate, to say a comforting word, to ask what happened, where it hurts, or when it began. For the most basic communication, you depend on random translators, and every conversation is fragmented, poorly understood, impersonal.
“We are a group of medical school graduates about to begin our internships, who chose to use our vacation after 6 years of medical school to become better doctors for our Arab patients. Givat Haviva’s Arabic Studies Institute created an intensive course in spoken Arabic with an emphasis on medical terms especially for us. For a month and a half, we studied 3 times a week, not only the basics of the language, but also codes of behavior and Arab culture. Our wonderful teacher, May, taught us not only how to ask the patient how he is, but also how to communicate respectfully and create a bond of trust and understanding.
“With the help of May’s physician brother in translating medical terminology, each of us finished the course by conducting a full medical phone interview in Arabic. Next time a patient comes to us who speaks only Arabic, we will be able to begin the conversation with him in his own language. We will still need translators to get a full medical profile, but the moment we have even a little language in common, the atmosphere changes. We all know that this course was only the basics, a starting point. From here on, our teachers will be our patients. We want to thank Givat Haviva for creating this course especially to meet both our needs and our schedules.”
 For details and to contact us, see
Rabbi David Locketz and the Bet Shalom Congregation on seminar at Givat Haviva
Extraordinarily powerful storms bringing downpours of much needed rain, days of sunshine and also bitterly cold days by Israeli standards) were the main talking point in Israel this month, the ever changing challenges of the weather system matching the ups and downs of the political and other scandals and intrigues hitting the headlines during the last weeks of 2016.
As always at this time of year, the festive season, hundreds of groups of European, Australian and North American university and high-school students arrive in the country under the auspices of different organizations all of whom bringing mostly first time and extremely curious visitors to Israel and, for many, a Givat Haviva seminar on their itinerary.
With the International Department of Givat Haviva’s staff and freelance team stretched to their limits figuring out complicated logistics, building challenging, interesting and upbeat program content and – being the end of the year – not forgetting to put in some seriously high spirits and good cheer for the seminar participants to take back abroad with them for the coming year! 
Once more we are proud to have had the opportunity to share with so many young people from different continents the Givat Haviva vision for Shared Society in Israel and we sincerely hope that the coming year, 2017, will treat us all, everywhere, more kindly and far more peacefully than that which has just past.
Copyright © 2017 Givat Haviva, All rights reserved.

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