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Dear Partners,
Last month, our activities received unusual accolades from the President of Germany.  We were the only organization that the German President chose to visit during his stay in Israel, beyond the political meetings, and even venturing out of Jerusalem in order to do so. The President came to Givat Haviva with his wife, two cabinet ministers, the German Ambassador to Israel, and the Israeli Ambassador to Germany, as well as a large entourage of companions and reporters, who covered the visit on all major German media.
This important visit is a tremendous contribution to the organization and will have consequences for our development and our ability to increase our activity for building an equal shared society in Israel in the future.
The visit was beautifully organized and the Givat Haviva campus was shining bright. We spent about two hours showing the President our wide-ranging activity toward building a shared society, from the Arts Center, through the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace, to the Peace Library, as Mohammad Darawshe presented the organizational strategy, Riad Kabha – the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace, Anat Lidror – the Collaborative Arts Center, and Samer Athamni – education for a shared society.
During his visit, the President was introduced to a variety of our programs by the participants: he spoke with high school seniors, alumni of Through Others' Eyes, about their exhibition; teens from Children Teaching Children demonstrated how they build a common Jewish-Arab regional and communal sphere; fourth graders presented Together with the Environment; and our flagship program, Shared Communities, was presented by mayors Ilan Sadeh from Menashe Municipal Council, Mursi Abu Moch from Baqa al-Gharbiyye, and Itzik Cholavsky from Megiddo.  Two teachers from the program presented the joint curriculum of Heart to Heart, funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The President responded with great interest and excitement, and said in his concluding speech:
"Here you are setting the ground for the place where peace is eventually going to grow. You succeed where politicians have failed, and our delegation will publicize this special place in Germany and make sure it receives more support."
Let me conclude with a call to you: This week we are holding a special day in commemoration of 50 years to the Occupation. On Thursday, June 8, we will march along the Green Line in our region, in order to bring our country's need to end the conflict back into public awareness, based on the two state solution within mutually and internationally recognized and accepted borders. We in Givat Haviva are working towards the existence of a shared, equal society in Israel, and towards the establishment of peace between the two nations. This week, we are calling on you to join us. Come and take part in the march and in the events following it, which will take place at the Givat Haviva campus. Together, we will bring change!
Yaniv Sagee
Executive Director, Givat Haviva
Connections Project
A unique encounter of artists from Megiddo, Ma'ale Iron, Wadi Ara and around the world took place in Ya'ar HaKibbutzim ("Kibbutz Forest") in mid-May. The artists worked in groups and created pieces completely out of natural materials, and participated in events that brought them together with the local community. This event served as a model for a shared society, based on the cultural depth and attentiveness to the surroundings that it created. In his opening speech, Riad Kabha congratulated the unique initiative by the Arts Team from the  Megiddo-Ma'ale Iron Partnership.
Regional NGO Forum
The Regional NGO Forum held a meeting and decided to promote environmental projects. Ms. Nahed Seif, director of the Regional Environmental Unit of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, participated in the meeting. Participants agreed on cooperation, and decided to take the forum on a tour of Sakhnin to learn about successful models of work, to promote an educational project for raising environmental awareness, and to develop a walking trail along the Jeruf (Barkan) stream.  They also decided to establish an Association as part of the Forum’s activity. The projects will be promoted by the association's selected project team.
The Zalafa Arts Center, under the direction of Juliana Amara, has continued and expanded its activity for groups of teens and adults. Members of the Givat Haviva Mediation Leadership Course, in which Juliana participated, visited the Center and took part in an activity led by Julian, boosting team spirit through art. The visit was a great success.  
Ma'ale Iron – Megiddo
A very special encounter took place at Ma'ale Iron this month, around the Misqa Stream project. 30 dignitaries from neighboring communities (the villages of Ma'ale Iron and Migdal Oz) were invited, and a representative of the architectural firm in charge of the restoration process presented the project. The meeting was conducted in a good atmosphere and a sense of cooperation among the residents who came and expressed their willingness to assist the authorities in holding additional public sharing meetings. This was a first and important experience of public sharing in the processes of the partnership in the Arab society. We came out very hopeful for the future.
Emek Hefer – Zemer
The leadership team of the Emek Hefer-Zemer Partnership came together this month for a joint seminar in which we discussed issues regarding the perception of the partnership and clarified goals for the upcoming year. We hosted Sliam Moustafa Souleiman from the Authority for Economic Development, to brainstorm ways to implement Government Resolution 922 and leverage it within the framework of the Partnership. The Mayors participated in the seminar and emphasized the importance they see in a good relationship with the neighboring community and the many ways to respond to common interests that would benefit both municipalities, despite their difference in size.
Qalansuwa – Lev HaSharon
Mutual learning encounters headed by the mayors took place in both municipalities of our newest Shared Communities pair this month, with the leadership teams’ participation.
In Qalansuwa, we visited the old city and learned of its interesting tourism potential. We also learned about the organizational structure of the municipality and heard about possibilities for joint environmental development. In Lev HaSharon, we met with the committee representative of Moshav Nitzanei Oz, and learned about the two-tiered system of government. We were informed of communal projects in the areas of senior citizens and environmental education.
Regional Mediation Leadership Course
The course has reached the end of part one. Participants began to design their practicum programs, to begin implementation right after the end of Ramadan. Inspired by the course, a team from Baqa has already started The Center of Mediation and Giving and intends to establish it with Givat Haviva’s assistance. A joint encounter of participants from both classes also took place this month at The Center of Mediation and Giving, featuring a fascinating discussion of how to take advantage of all the terrific energies of the new mediators from the two classes in order to build community and establish a movement, which will inculcate the language and culture of mediation throughout the region.
Hosting participants of the mediation course at the Zalafa Arts Center
On May 10, 2017, the Education Department held the last one-day seminar for the current academic year, for the Amal School from Qalansuwa and Hadassah Ne'urim. Since the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, the Education Department at Givat Haviva held 25 one-day seminars on Shared Public Space and 17 two-day seminars on the topic of Building a Shared Society.  Over 3000 Jewish and Arab students attended the programs.
The Education Department in collaboration with the Arts Center held two final meetings in May for Together in Art, the project for students in the 4th grade, which was implemented this year in two pairs, Emek Hefer–Zemer and Megiddo-Ma'ale Iron. The parents, the school principals and other guests attended the final celebration. The positive atmosphere was accompanied by an earnest request from students and parents alike to continue the project.
The joint learning encounters continued this month in all three pairs of schools, once at the Jewish school and once at the Arab school. The final sessions were held at Givat Haviva at the end of the month, and each pair chose to sum up its joint work in a different manner.
End of the year encounter between the Mu'awiya and Megiddo schools, May 21, 2017.
Children Teaching Children
May was full of end-of-the-year activities.
The President of Germany visited one of the meetings and was impressed with the joint group's work on the topic of the common public sphere, and building a common village.
Some of the sessions included a visit to the exhibition Ḥamsin at the Arts Center. The groups studied the subject through an examination of the process they had experienced together in the program, and as a way to clarify their individual and group vision and goals.
Most of the students summed up the program as very meaningful, and said it illuminates and raises many questions and thoughts for continuation of the journey, and for them as Arab and Jewish citizens in the country.
Canada Delegation – the sixth 2017 group is on its way
After a long and complex process of selecting the CTC participants for the Heart to Heart delegation, a leadership group was selected, combining graduates of the Children Teaching Children program from various schools. We held a joint meeting for parents and children, focusing on getting to know each other and providing a general explanation about the delegation. Additional meetings were held separately for the Jewish and Arab children. The delegation will be accompanied and led by Robi Sapir and Esraa Kabha.
Bara’em Hi-Tech
The program, training gifted 8th and 9th grade students towards a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, both the first and second year students continued in their second semester.
As part of the curriculum, a collaboration of Givat Haviva and the Netanya College, the students in the program held two field trips this year, one to Galil Software, a high-tech company in Nazareth, and the other to the Netanya Academic College. The program, which has been active for two years, is gearing up to start its third cycle in the upcoming academic year, and it already has twenty students registered. Registration is happening now!
Yihiye B’seder: Hebrew Enrichment for Arab Schools
As part of the Yihiye B’seder program, teacher Nili Gross of Khalid ibn al-Walid Junior High School in Qalansuwa initiated an activity of creating lanterns for Ramadan, in homage to the old days without electricity, when Muslims would use lanterns to wake each other up for prayer. Participating schools continue to hold Special Hebrew Days to wrap up the year, with special activities all conducted in Hebrew.
Activity of the Collaborative Arts Center – April - May 2017
As part of his visit to Givat Haviva, the President of Germany visited the Collaborative Arts Center, viewed an exhibit by teen participants of Through Others' Eyes and met children from the Together in Art program, who showed him their work and explained about the project.
Members of Through Others' Eyes visited Ar'ara and held a tour along the Separation Wall in Barta'a with Riad Kabha, director of the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace.
The festive opening of the exhibition Ḥamsin - 50 was attended by more than two hundred visitors, Jews and Arabs.  Speakers at the opening included Yaniv Sagee, Executive Director of Givat Haviva; Ziad Darwish, member of the Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society at the Palestinian Authority; and internationally renowned artist, Gershon Knispel.
We celebrated the conclusion of two courses of Together in Art, with 4th graders from schools of Emek Hefer, Zemer, Megiddo and Musmus. The parents were happy to see the yearlong activity, as we presented the four murals that were created for each school. We held "connection circles", exchanged presents and released balloons into the air, to remind us that the sky is the limit.
This month we held a unique master class with artist Katya Izabel Filmus (England), on ceramic printing and glass.
Artists Hagar Mittelpunkt and Katya Izabel Filmus hosted the audience for a nighttime performance in which they occupied the gallery area, while the participants experienced the Ḥamsin art show in the dark, accompanied by a fascinating discussion of the content and a sing-along.
Language - The Institute for the Study of Arabic
During the month of May, our students went on field trips with their teachers to practice their Arabic language skills.  In June, we will celebrate the end of the annual courses with an Iftar party.
We are also in the midst of registering for summer courses.
Enrichment activities continued in schools, you are welcome to read a thank you letter (in Hebrew)! and to see the photos.
For studying Arabic at Givat Haviva, or to organize a study group anywhere you want, contact us at .
Overseas students on a Bar Ilan Israel Study program during seminar and tour of Wadi Ara
International Department
This month the International Department hosted groups of journalists, academics and students from Germany; a Los Angeles rabbi and group of congregants; hundreds of North American students in Israel with Birthright-Taglit; overseas students on an academic year program at Bar Ilan University and a group of very influential American Evangelical Christian clergy and professionals working for Christian based television and other media forms.
These were extremely diverse groups but with a common goal - to learn as much as possible whilst in Israel for short or long term programs.   From feedback already received, the Givat Haviva International Department staff played a major role in dealing with complex issues that, as one academic participant put it, “other personalities we have met have tried to sidestep speaking about.”
Temple Israel of Hollywood members walking the Green Line with the Givat Haviva International Department
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