Walk in Peace לך לשלום
One of the most severe problem in the Israeli society is the character of it’s relations between the Jewish majority and the Arab - Palestinian minority. Jews and Arabs live in Israel side by side, but socially they are almost completely separated. The relationships that do exist are actually reflection of general relationships between the Arab and the Jewish people, living in the Middle East, (even though on somewhat milder level ) and they can be characterized in terms of alienation, ignorance and fear. The violent events of October 2000 inside Israel proved, that future of relationships between Israel and the Arab world as well as between Israel and the Palestinian People are strongly connected with the ability of Jewish and Arab - Palestinian citizens of Israel to live and cooperate in peaceful and respectful co-existence. The Jewish - Arab relationships inside Israel can be regarded as a “test case “ for Jewish – Arab relations as a whole.
One of the main reasons for the relationships' fragility is the fear that the ideology and attitudes of the other side doesn't accept the existence of anyone else on the same territory. The Arab-Jewish conflict focuses upon territory and space ownership. The ownership has both physical and cultural essence upon names of places, meaning of places and their history. The conflict is characterized by dichotomy discourse which disable the existence of both national cultures on the same territory and space. Both sides feels that the other's culture threatens their own cultural and national existence.
The Arab minority in Israel, being inseparable part of the Palestinian people, with which the State of Israel live in a state of violent conflict, suffers from discrimination. Part of this discrimination relates to the state education program which ignores the Arab-Palestinian heritage. One of these results, is a minor reference to the material, physical and natural Arab-Palestinian culture ( for example while studying on desert areas, there's no reference to the desert in the Arab culture as well as ignoring the Bedouin problem in the Negev Desert). The Jewish Historical and spatial narrative is taught in Arab state school. Usually it is partly taught and grasped by the Arab audience as a narrative which denies co-existence based on mutual respect, in the state of Israel.
Although problems on this scale have to be coped by political establishment, still strengthening anti-racist attitude through deep going work within civil society and educational frameworks may have far reaching impact on inter-ethnic relations.
Presenting the national & cultural narratives from tolerant point of view, enables mutual recognition and lowering level of stereotypes. Presenting those narratives to young leaders which are committed to social change, can bring a tremendous effect among the future generation.
We believe, that young Group Leaders through their activity in youth-movement have a key role in disseminating these ideas in the society - especially on the educational and local community level. Informal education is the most proper instrument to bring social involvement from the one hand, and to recognition of the individual needs from the other hand. The informal education propose that social and educational goals can be achieved through ideas, organizations and instruments which have flexible institutionalization level, free from formal conditionings.
In "Walk in Peace" project we will focus in:
1.Widening the circle of those who are committed to dialogue in order to get to co-existence based on mutual respect and corporation. 2.Spreading the process – as its participants being young leaders with constant teenagers groups. 3.Offering "after-program" framework by implementing the methods they were acquainted to in the project in their youth-movements.
The project will create a core of young youth-movements leaders, Arabs and Jews, who will introduce the other's narrative to their group members and peer group. The mutual narrative introduction will bindingly take place in the hikings which are also integral part in the activity of most youth movements in Israel. Through the acquaintance with the other's culture, history and attitudes, stereotypes will be diminished and a common ground will be established for co-operation between Arab and Jewish youth groups.
"Walk in Peace" offers new attractive initiative for dialogue. Through the joint travel it offers acquaintance which is intensive and continual, conflictive and expressive. "Walk in Peace" is unique by combining both attitudes: the Dialogical-interpersonal and the conflictive-collective.
1.Gathering Jewish and Arabs young –leaders from two levels of commitment : those who feel committed and ready for a full year process and those who are not ready for it and will experience bi-national meetings on more limited scale. 2.Mutual recognition and presenting different spatial narratives through concerning history, culture and folklore. 3.Giving a chance to know other's side thoughts and feelings toward the conflict. 4.Training Arab and Jewish leaders to know, understand and respect cultural differences on the one hand and to build a common basis on the other hand. Through this recognition the leaders will become more tolerant. 5.Deepening mutual respect and giving a place to other's identity by widening the educational "tool-box" which the leaders will have on their work in hiking with they pupils. 6.Spreading the idea of "joint", Jewish-Arab hikes among leaders of youth-movements.
During the youth movements' activity month next year (Oct. 2005- July 2006) 40 young leaders from both nationalities will meet in journeys once a month during the weekend. Additional meetings will be in between those meetings in order to process the experiences.
1st month – introduction acquaintance hike: ice-breaking and interpersonal acquaintance and inter-youth movement acquaintance.
2nd month- learning about outdoors skills and methods in the youth-movement hike .
3rd month – introduction to the cultural aspect in hike-leading ( tales about flora & fauna, treating archeological remains, water resources etc.)
4th month- deepening cultural aspect in hike-leading (how man relates to outdoors in the two cultures)
5th month- meeting the Palestinian and Jewish heritage and memory through places (on the temporal and way back history of places which we pass in the hike)
6th month -Disscusing ways to raise conflictual issues in the hike (Arab demolished houses. Illegal building etc)
7th month- Disscusing ways to raise conflictual issues in the hike using planed and spontaneous encounters with people along the hike.
8th month- an example hike leaded by the participants of the program. In addition, offering a continues framework of cooperation between the participants.
Cost: 35,000 $