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Givat Haviva newsletter, May 2016
From our Executive DirectorA week ago, for a moment, it seemed like a ray of light pierced the darkness. The prime minister and the leader of the opposition spoke together about a historic opportunity for peace that would justify a partnership between them. By the next day it was clear that the light was from the engine of the train of war and hate … and we got a right-wing nationalist government.
In the choice between peace and war, between democracy and ethnocracy, in the choice between a politics of fear and a politics of hope, again and again my beloved country chooses the slippery slope that leads to ruin.
But we have not gathered here today for the sake of anger and wailing. We have gathered here to strengthen the construction, the partnership, the hope, the true light and not the false.
We have gathered together because we are connected partners in the society which is marching toward that slippery slope, but we are also working to prevent the crash and to create an alternative.
2500 years ago, the great Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “When a group of people are marching downhill, the last one is the highest.” And we truly are heading downhill, but we are the last, who are in the highest place, which demands responsibility, a clear strategy, precise implementation, belief in our way, and love. Yes, love.
Martin Luther King said, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” While we in Israel speak with contempt of “lovers of Arabs”, or of those who want to create partnership with “the Zoabis”.
And I say – they who speak of Arabs flocking to the polls, and they who are not ready to live in partnership with the Arab citizens of Israel, and they who see love of Arabs as mistaken or a shortcoming; they are the ones who endanger our future, the future of our shared country, Israel.
And I have a small confession: I am a lover of Arabs.
I love Riad and Mohammed, my partners, from whom I learn something new every day. I love Samer and Anhar and Razal and Zakaria and Nasrin and Hassan and all my wonderful comrades here at Givat Haviva, with whom we are turning hate into friendship and love.
But I don’t stop at love – I celebrate the opportunity to live together with Arabs. I celebrate the enriching cultural diversity, the opportunities for economic development, the food, and the music – some of which we’ll hear later today. As President Rubi Rivlin said at the Givat Haviva Conference last year, “We are not doomed but fated to walk this road together.” read more
4th Annual Givat Haviva Conference
This year’s conference continued the tradition of a leading conference on the topic of Shared Society in Israel, this time with the title, “Implications of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on Common Citizenship for Jews and Arabs in Israel.” The conference examined aspects of politics, media, and culture for shared society.
Official greetings were delivered from President of Israel Reuven Rivlin and President of the United States Barack Obama. Keynote speakers included Mark Gallagher, Head of the Political Section of the European Union Delegation to Israel, Mohammed Barake, Chairman of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, and MKs Yitzhak Herzog, Aiman Oudeh, Ayoob Kara, and Ofer Shelach. Anwar Abu Aisha, Palestinian Minister of Culture delivered greetings from Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
More than 300 people attended the conference, a diverse audience of Arabs and Jews, heads of municipalities, heads and members of civil society organizations, people from the private sector – all citizens who care about creating a unified, shared society here in Israel.
Dr. Chaim Konstantiner Prize in Jewish Education
On May 17, Givat Haviva was awarded the 2016 Dr. Chaim Konstantiner Prize in Jewish Education in a moving ceremony at Tel Aviv University, which was attended by the Academic Board of Directors and the Konstantiner family. The prize was awarded to Givat Haviva on the centennial of the founding of Hashomer Hatzair Movement, for ongoing excellence in Jewish, Zionist, and Israeli education that Givat Haviva has conducted since the establishment of the state, promoting education, peace, and social solidarity between diverse populations in Israel.
During the ceremony, Prof. Leo Corry, Dean of Humanities at Tel Aviv University and an alumnus of Hashomer Hatzair in Venezuela, delivered a moving speech to those present, including generations of Givat Haviva staff, and awarded Givat Haviva the Jewish Education prize for continuing activity promoting creation of a shared society and humanistic Jewish education.
Givat Haviva Friends’ Association Seminar
Seventeen friends of Givat Haviva came from the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and France to attend the 4th Annual Givat Haviva Shared Society Conference and spend four days getting firsthand insight into our programs and plans for the future. The Givat Haviva staff had a wonderful time introducing them to Nazareth and the new initiatives there, Lydia Aisen’s green line tour, the Hebrew Language Enrichment program in Baka el-Garbiya, our new computer lab for the Hitech Seeds program, a Children Teaching Children encounter, and the new partnership between Zemer and Emek Hefer.
Friends of Givat Haviva on Lydia Aisen's green line tour.
As the end of the school year approaches, May was a very busy month for our education programs.
On May 31, over a thousand Arab and Jewish students, teachers, parents and siblings converged on the Givat Haviva campus for a Youth Summit that was the culmination of the project Learning Together, in which pairs of classes worked together to on projects related to shared regionality. During the summit, students presented their work, enjoyed refreshments, and listened to System Ali, a hiphop band in Hebrew and Arabic. The project was sponsored by the German foreign ministry, and greetings were delivered by the German ambassador to Israel and the mayors of Menashe and Baka el Garbiya.
Children Teaching Children wrapped up the year of activities with creative projects reflecting their experiences together during the year, some of them with help from Givat Haviva’s Art Center. A student from Al Andalus school reflects on what they learned during the year: “I began the program with lots of worries, thinking the Jewish kids are racist. Meeting them in the program gave me hope that not all are racist and that change is possible.” Another from Mevo’ot Iron says, “It was hard on us that we didn’t get to the second meeting in Baka because of worries due to [the security] situation. I was glad that we were able to get to the third meeting in Baka. I see things differently from how they’re presented in the media.”
This summer will see the sixth Heart to Heart delegation of Children Teaching Children alumni attending Hashomer Hatzair summer camp in Canada. The delegation met to get to know each other better and prepare for the exciting and challenging trip ahead. They met with alumni of last year’s program to learn from their experience. The preparations also include the parents of all the children.
Givat Haviva Education Department activity continues expanding: Co-Directors Samer Atamneh and Shimrit Biton-Semo met with heads of municipal bureaus of education in Zichron Yaacov, Fureidis, Hof Hacarmel and Jisr a-Zarka to explore the possibility of creating new educational partnerships in these municipalities.
The Regional NGO Forum of civil society organizations from municipalities in the Shared Communities program, which has been active under Givat Haviva’s aegis for almost 3 years, organized an Environmental Quality Conference. The conference was held at Elkasemi College in Baka el-Garbiya and was attended by the Minister for the Environment, heads of municipalities in the region, NGO representatives, and social and environmental activists.
The Regional Art Forum continued its work in the new gallery and art center in Zalafe, along with the Maale Iron regional council. Their monthly meeting was hosted in Givat Haviva’s Art Center by the new Director Anat Lidror. An exhibit of local artist Shuruk Agbarieh is on display in the gallery, and an exhibit of artist Wadiya Elawadi opened in the gallery in Mishmar Haemek.
Ongoing work in the partnerships continues, including the new partnership between Zemer and Emek Hefer, and in the new Mayors’ and Business Forums.
The Peace Gallery at Givat Haviva’s Art Center re-opened with the first exhibit under the auspices of director Anat Lidror, “3 Conversations – a Women’s Dialogue” featuring 6 women artists: 3 Jewish and 3 Palestinian who collaborated to create the exhibit. It was launched with an academic panel discussion “The Place and Power of Contemporary Jewish and Palestinian Women’s Art in Israel”.
The Through Others’ Eyes group attended a 2-day dialogue seminar to get to know each other better in preparation for putting together their exhibit and for their summer delegation to the US.
The Arabic Studies Institute held a combined year-end party for the first time for all of their different courses – all in Arabic, including a musical performance by the English speakers and a singer from Jatt, accompanied by Arabic Studies Institute teacher Iyad Jaber. This was the first time all the courses of different levels on different days and for native speakers of both Hebrew and other languages met, and everyone had a wonderful time. Registration is still open for summer courses.
GERMAN JOURNALISTS with BUNDESZENTRALE participating in full day seminar
The weather was as diverse as the groups from overseas the International Department hosted on and off campus this month.  From some of the hottest days ever on record for a month of May, to a drastic drop in temperature accompanied by torrential rainfall, Mother Nature really had everybody on their toes – or running for shelter when out and about on campus and touring the region. Participants ranged in age from 18 – 80, represented many European countries South American countries, as well as a host of different US states, diverse regions of Canada and also Australia.  After such a month, our educators are left with the feeling of globetrotting without even having left the country!
A Special Hebrew day was held in Ibn Sina Junior High in Baka el-Garbiya, as part of the Hebrew Language Enrichment program for Arab schools. Among the day’s highlights were a speech in Hebrew written and delivered by one of the students, a song in Hebrew performed by a students (in the picture), an interactive performance by Chen Margalit, and  a visit by the Friends of Givat Haviva from overseas, who also observed a demonstration class with program teacher Natali Ventura and a class of students.
Anhar Masarwa, director of Women Cooking for Peace received an invitation to participants to audition for Israel’s popular television reality cooking competition Master Chef. The program’s fame is clearly spreading – we hope to see a representative on the next season!
Copyright © 2016 Givat Haviva, All rights reserved.

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