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A couple of weeks ago, many Israelis celebrated Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. Israelis went out to the sites of celebration and entertainment, but the national minority of Arab Israeli citizens is still not part of that party. Not that they don't feel as partners in the State of Israel. On the contrary – a survey published in the days preceding Independence Day by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University* shows that 51 percent of Arab Israeli citizens feel proud to be Israeli. 66 percent of Arab Israeli citizens consider the situation in Israel as ranging between "good" and "very good". 58% of Arab Israeli citizens see themselves as part of the country and its problems. 61% are optimistic regarding the future of the country. What is the meaning of all these figures?  Is this in line with the political polarization, the laws proposed by the Knesset that hurt the Arab society, and sayings like "droves of Arabs are flowing to the polling stations"? I believe that this survey proves what we in Givat Haviva have been saying for a long time: That in Israel there is a desire and ample interest in an equal shared society between Jews and Arabs. Israeli Arab citizens are not a fifth column and do not constitute a danger to the country. They are citizens who, despite suffering discrimination, wish to belong, to identify and to influence their country. In spite of the inherent conflict between their Palestinian nationality and their Israeli citizenship, which will continue to exist as long as the bloody national conflict is not resolved, nevertheless they strive to promote a civil agenda that will allow them a sense of belonging to the State of Israel.  The present government has been taking significant positive steps in the areas of economic integration and equality, through Government Resolution 922, which is supposed to channel billions for the economic development, infrastructure and education of the Arab sector in Israel. This is a necessary condition, but it is not sufficient.
In order to respond to the wish of Israeli citizens to be part of this country, we must recognize them as a national minority, as a collective that has national collective rights. We must create a common public sphere where all citizens of Israel, including those 20 percent who are the Arab-Palestinian national minority, feel at home, feel that their language and culture are part of the country and are present in the region. 
A survey published by the same Institute a month ago presented a fascinating finding: Jews and Arabs want to learn about each other. Most of the sampled Jews, 62%, agreed with the statement that all schools in Israel should teach the Jewish and the Arab points of view on the history of the conflict between them. Among Arabs, support has been even more significant, at 85%. Once again, contrary to the general atmosphere which is producing radicalization, most of the public wishes to know, to learn, to understand and to get closer. Once we teach history from both points of view, we will stop fearing the word "Nakba", and understand how our independence, as Jews, is tied to the calamity of the Arab citizens of Israel. Once we learn about our common past and its inverse effects on the two nations that share this land, there will come the moment to develop new ways to celebrate it.  It will be a celebration of everybody, all the citizens of Israel. A Jewish and Arab celebration, showing gratitude for what is and emphasizing partnership. I wish, inshallah, that we will be able to celebrate our country's 70th anniversary that way. And as we do, together, we will ensure the State of Israel has a better future.
Yaniv Sagee, Executive Director – Givat Haviva   
Partnerships Leaders in the Municipalities
This month we wanted to tell you about the role of the Partnership Leaders in the municipalities.
The Partnership Leaders are the men and women who coordinate the work of the various committees, and help promote the many initiatives. The Partnership Leaders' role involves more than just their official role in the municipality they belong to. In fact, the Partnership Leader is the moving force behind the entire leadership team in the municipality, a role that requires the ability to move processes proactively, with determination, all the way.
As part of the leadership development process, mentors from Givat Haviva help the leadership team members move the processes within their own municipalities, and see themselves as responsible for the promotion of the leadership.
In the Ma'ale Iron-Megiddo Partnership, the leaders are Maher Agbariyah, the assistant to the mayor, and Hagar Reuveni, coordinator of the biosphere reserve; the Baqa-Menashe Partnership elected deputy mayor Sharif Shaeeb and Yonatan Eshchar, head of the Education Dept.; the Emek Hefer-Zemer Partnership is led by deputy mayor Eldad Shalem and Ichlas Zaydan, head of the Welfare Dept.; the Mazra'a-Evron Partnership is led by Nitza Batsha and Ghada Ghadban; In the Lev Sharon- Qalansuwa Partnership, the elected leaders are Ronit Rofeh and Roterm Amos, and municipality CEO Ayman Kashkush.
We are grateful and full of appreciation to our partners in leadership, without whom we could not have a long standing, meaningful and fruitful partnership.
Megiddo – Ma'ale Iron Community Activity
Art team – Zalafa Arts Center

After a long preparatory work process, in which the art team was partnered with representatives of the Ma'ale Iron Council, the Zalafa Arts Center began operating this month, led by Juliana Amara, the team member who coordinates the activity.
The arts classes in the Center are in high demand, and there are currently 80 children and teens who participate in crafts, drawing, jewelry making and knitting classes. Additional classes are planned for women and senior citizens
A Delegation of Jewish and Arab teens from the Kafr Qara-Megiddo Partnership in a reciprocal visit to Germany and Poland
A delegation of Jewish and Arab youth went on a reciprocal visit to Germany and Poland in April. The students were chosen from the Kafr Qara and Megiddo high schools, the active schools in the community partnership program, sponsored and led by Givat Haviva. This was a reciprocal visit for the delegation of Polish and German youth from Haus Am Maiberg Institute, in Heppenheim (Germany) who visited us last December. The delegation's main topic was "Dialogue paths according to the teachings of Martin Buber". The students had many workshops on racism and xenophobia, antisemitism in the past and in the present. Participants practiced a variety of dialogue techniques and had experiential workshops aimed at increasing intercultural and interreligious understanding (including a visit to a mosque and several churches). Students also visited interesting places and travelled through beautiful landscapes, they visited historical and memorial sites in Israel, in Germany and in Poland (such as Yad Vashem and the Osthofen Concentration camp), interviewed holocaust survivors in Jerusalem, and spoke with figures related to the late Martin Buber (his granddaughter, Ms. Yehudit Agassi, and his great-granddaughter, Tamar).
The month of April was a peak month for the Lev – Learning Together program. It began with a training for teachers who lead the project of joint learning of the subject of regional geography, developed by the Education Department at Givat Haviva. The three pairs of classes (one Jewish, one Arab in each pair) continued to meet and study together, at the Arab school and at the Jewish school, on alternating weeks.
Together in Art – A program in cooperation with the Arts Center continued its intensive work this month as well. The two pairs of schools (Omarim from Megiddo and Musmus Elementary from Ma'ale Iron; Kedem from Emek Hefer and Bir Al Saka from Zemer) continued their regular meetings, held every week at one of the schools, alternately. 
In both projects, the mentors and the teachers reported a positive atmosphere and a meaningful and rich learning experience for the students.
The Education Department conducted a workshop for the mentors of the meeting programs. There was a summary of the educational work this year, and we sadly said goodbye to Shimrit, who was the co-director of the Education Department over the last year and a half. Good luck on your new path, Shimrit!
Children Teaching Children – During the month of April, this veteran program continued its many activities.  One such activity took place at the Givat Haviva Arts Center, where students from the Meiser School had joint workshops with students from the Shvilim Democratic School in Pardes Hanna, a school that has had a fruitful cooperation with us for a long time. We also held an exciting reunion of the participants of the first Heart to Heart delegation to Canada in 2011, and we learned of the contribution of the program to each and every participant.
Yihye B'seder Hebrew Enrichment Program for Arab Schoolson the first day of the Passover vacation, we held the spring conference of Yihye B'seder, with the participation of the program teachers, representatives for the directors from the participating schools, the supervisor Mr. Madhat Zakhalka, and representatives from Merchavim, the Abraham Foundation and Yad b'Yad.  The conference opened with a music workshop, followed by three panels on the following topics:
  1. Jews and Arabs in the educational system;
  2. Coping with a classroom lacking online/computerized means;
  3. A directors' panel on the way the program has affected the students so far.
The last panel also discussed the recommendations for Jewish teachers when coming to integrate in an Arab school, and brought up future expectations based on the students' achievements so far, and the academic contents.
Activity at the Collaborative Arts Center - April 2017
The female members of the group "Through Others' Eyes" enjoyed an encounter with artist Anisa Ashkar, who opened a window to her artistic world.  The women also took a fascinating tour of Baqa al-Gharbiyye. They visited the studio of Subhiyah, a member of the group. Subhiyah and her family own a studio for event photography in Baqa. The group had a photography tour of the well, the school, and the separation barrier, which is right in the center of town. It was instructive and exciting.
The youth group of "Through Others' Eyes" visited Kafr Qara. Iyad Athamne, a student in the class, hosted the twenty members at his home. The teens got to know his family and the way of life in the village, and shared a lovely meal. The encounter in Kafr Qara certainly adds another dimension to the experience of all the students, and allows them to photograph from a slightly different angle.
On Friday, April 21, we hosted more than 200 people at the event "Hitkabtzu"/Come Together, around the topic of the future of the kibbutz and its current process of renewal. The successful event was held in cooperation with the Department of Culture at the Menashe Regional Council, the Yad Ya'ari Center, and the artistic forces of Ein Shemer and the Havatzelet Group.
We would like to take this opportunity to tell you about the Arab Culture Enrichment Days we hold at the Institute and beyond.
One of our participants writes:
"A group of students sat fascinated at the maddafeh (hosting room), for several hours, showing interest, asking questions, laughing and clapping, and at the end also holding conversations with the moderators. We also had a picnic and celebrated our teacher's birthday, and it was a pleasure."
As part of our activities, we present engagement and wedding practices, hospitality customs through coffee and greetings, mourning rituals, different attires, etc.  Professional Arab moderators who season their stories with personal accounts and short videos describe all the past and present customs. It is a way of combining fun and learning for interested groups, students, entire grades, your place or ours.
You can choose from a variety of topics listed on our website, at reasonable costs. We guarantee you will have a wonderful time!
To study Arabic at Givat Haviva or to organize a study group anywhere, please contact us at
Copyright © 2017 Givat Haviva, All rights reserved.

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