A letter from our Executive Director

August 2017

 

Dear Partners,
When the heavy heat of summer coincided with the events of the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif, and with the law of nationality widening the political rift

between Jews and Arabs in Israel, friends asked me, "How do you still believe in shared society?" And I replied, “Just come with me to Givat Haviva any day and you’ll understand.”
It turned out that in mid-July I had hosted someone from the United States and this was how his day looked: We began with a tour of the amazing ceramics exhibition at the Art Center. From there we went to see the fifty people who were studying the Arabic language at the Institute. On our way, we passed a summer camp where Ethiopian Israeli children stood out. We continued through the library where there were about 50 young American Jews participating in summer programs. From there we went to the pool and saw how some 100 Arab children were learning to swim. In the computer lab, a group of boys, the vast majority of them Arabs and a few Jews, prepared for the summer exams in computer studies as part of the Bara'em High-Tech program. On our way to my office, we passed the summer camp of the Reform movement, whose participants made sure to conduct the morning prayers under the window of my office for several weeks... This is Givat Haviva, the center for a shared society: Jews and Arabs, secular and religious, pluralistic Judaism, adults and young people, Arabic and Hebrew, art and poetry. Hosting thousands of people every month, a local and global center at the same time.
That is how we build a shared society. This time we are not going to talk about the joint education programs for living together, about the neighboring communities that are building their partnership with our help, about the "Roadmap for a Shared Society", with our recommendations that 90,000 Israelis have already reviewed through the websites of Bokra in Arabic and YNET in Hebrew. But here you will read about some of the activities we chose to highlight this month. No, we do not give up when hot winds threaten to ignite our common home; we just work harder to create a different future for this land that we share.
Yaniv Sagee, Executive Director
Givat Haviva 


 

July  2017
 
Dear Partners,
In this month's newsletter, I would like to highlight the Roadmap for a Shared Society, our flagship program for public engagement and changing policy for establishing a shared society in Israel. This is a three-phase program: The first phase consisted of developing Givat Haviva’s recommendations for a government policy that will lead to a shared and equal society in five areas: Economy, Government, Education, Land Use, and Restorative Justice and Cultural Representation. The second phase is sharing these recommendations with the wider public in Israel. This is the phase we are currently at, and so far a great number of people, around 60 thousand, have been exposed to the teams' recommendations through two online news sites: YNET in Hebrew and Bokra in Arabic. We urge you to visit those websites, so that we know what is most important and feasible in your opinion. At this point, we are also holding 40 open public meetings throughout the country, for both Arab and Jewish societies. The third phase will go into effect in November-December, when our final recommendations, following the public feedback, will be presented to policy makers in the Knesset and in the government.
We recently celebrated the end of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr. Here is the special message I sent our Muslim friends and partners:
Our dear Muslim friends and partners: We would like to congratulate you on your holiday of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan.  This is a holy day of forgiveness and peace, family, community, brotherhood and an opportunity to settle conflicts. We hope that these values, associated with this holiday, will be our guiding lights, helping our work and the achievement of our goals, and serve to deepen our cooperation towards building an equal shared society for the benefit of all the citizens of this country.
Wishing you Eid Mubarak,
Yaniv Sagee,
Executive Director Givat Haviva
Givat Haviva marked the month of Ramadan with a traditional Iftar meal at the common dining hall. The meal, on June 8, was part of the day's events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the occupation.
Many guests attended the meal, including the mayors and representatives of the municipalities taking part in the Shared Communities program, participants from the various programs, representatives of peace organizations, members of HaShomer HaTzair and the Agial Youth Movements, and the Givat Haviva team.
Riad Kabha presided over the festive evening that included greetings by Yaniv Sagee, Executive Director of Givat Haviva; The Honorable Kadi Ayad Zahalka, who spoke about Ramadan; Mr. Anwar Kalaf, representative of the Palestinian Authority; MK Yael Cohen-Faran, and other friends. The successful event was beautifully organized by Ella Eisner from the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace.

 


June 2017

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