November 2014
GHEF Newsletter
President Rivlin 
Israel's One-State President -- and a Lone Voice Against Anti-Arab Racism 
President Rivlin has surprised many Israelis when only a few days into the new year, he teamed up with an 11-year-old Arab youngster to make a video calling for intercommunal tolerance.
Alona Ferber published an article on Haaretz on October 26th discussing President Rivlin's newfound position on Shared Society in Israel.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

A few days into the Jewish New Year, Israel's new president, Reuven Rivlin, did something that surprised and moved many Israelis: He teamed up with an 11-year-old Arab youngster to make a video calling for intercommunal tolerance.  The boy, one George Amireh, a Christian from Jaffa, had made a viral video expressing frustration at bullying peers, and Rivlin approached him to collaborate. In his original video, Amireh drops a series of placards Bob Dylan-style, bearing names the other kids call him at school. His video with the president broadens the message, with placards reading: "Let us promise ourselves that this year we will act for tolerance, empathy, unity, equality - values that we must have in our state."


The video resonated - no mean feat in the post-Gaza war climate. Relations between the Jewish majority and the 20 percent minority of Palestinian citizens of Israel, delicate at the best of times, were under enormous pressure this summer. The country was reeling from the murders of three Israeli teens in the West Bank and the murder of a Palestinian teen in East Jerusalem, and the ensuing 50-day Israel-Hamas hostilities put Arab-Jewish relations to the test.  Most Jews supported the Gaza operation, but most Arabs did not.


Netanyahu has issued few unifying messages to calm divisions, but Rivlin has made his pro-tolerance message a top priority since taking office. While Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for a boycott of Arab businesses taking part in a protest strike against the summer war, Rivlin's first Knesset speech in office urged lawmakers not to ignore "the extremism and violence that have raised their ugly heads among us." In the process, he has become the only major political voice in Israel advocating tolerance


When extremists protested the wedding in August of a Muslim man and a Jewish woman who converted to Islam, Netanyahu stayed mum. Rivlin, meanwhile, said there was no place in Israeli society for the "infuriating and distressing" displays "of incitement" against the couple. Just this week, he told a conference that violence in Israel has reached new heights, wondered whether Israeli Jews have "forgotten how to be decent human beings," and said, "It's time to admit honestly that Israeli society is sick - and this sickness must be treated." On Sunday, he became the first president to attend the memorial ceremony for the 1956 Kafr Qasem massacre, when Border Police officers shot and killed 47 residents of the Arab village. He said this was a "serious crime" that needed to be repaired.

To read the rest of the article, click here.  President Rivlin's sentiments highlight the urgent need for Givat Haviva's Shared Society work in Israel.  Despite the fluctuating tensions this summer, Givat Haviva has dedicated itself to scaling up its Shared Community flagship program initiatives in order to make a wider, more salient impact on Israeli society. 

Givat Haviva Program Updates
Hebrew Language Enrichment Program

The Hebrew Language Enrichment Program for Arab schools is successfully underway in 83 classrooms, reaching over 2,754 Arab youth in the Wadi Ara region of Israel. The program aims to enhance the knowledge of Hebrew language and culture among Arab middle school students in order to increase their capacity to succeed in Israeli society, while reducing animosity, fear and stereotypes towards Jewish citizens.  
Moreshet's Holocaust Toolkit for Arab History Teachers

Givat Haviva's Holocaust Study & Research Center has developed a unique Teacher's Kit for Arab schools in order to share the narrative of the Holocaust with Arab youth in a culturally sensitive way.  This is achieved through the narrative of Muslim families hiding, rescuing and saving Jews from the Gestapo and the concentration camps. These methods allow Israeli Arabs to become a part of the historic narrative in a positive way that frees them from inhibiting feelings of guilt and blame. 

Mustashara Program

The Mustashara Program is a forum of female Arab Municipal Advisors on the Advancement on the Status of Women in Israel committees.  Recently, the Israeli Parliament adopted a law mandating the appointment of female Advisors to the Advancement of the Status of Women committees in local authorities nationwide.  In order to maximize this potential, Givat Haviva has developed the Mustashara Program, which aims to build the capacity of the women appointed to these advisory roles. 

Other Israel Film Festival
Opening Night Gala this Thursday
The Other Israel Film Festival begins this Thursday with their Opening Night Gala featuring a red carpet and the US premier of Life Sentences. 

Be sure to check out Givat Haviva's sponsored film, Almost Friends.  The film will be screened on four separate occassions, on Sunday the 9th at 2pm there will also be a Speakeasy following the film featuring the film's director Nitzan Ofir and Anat Angel, the film's co-Creator.

Click here for more information on the films, showtimes and venues.

Mohammad Addresses Congregation Beth El in Berkeley, California
Yaniv Sagee and Mohammad Darawshe Kicked Off Their October Speaking Tour in the US
Yaniv Sagee, our Executive Director, and Mohammad Darawshe, our Director of Planning, Equality and Shared Living, travelled across the country during a Speaking Tour, which included university meetings, speaking events and fundraisers.  The Speaking Tour kicked off on October 19th in Berkeley, California where Congregation Beth El and the Anti-Defamation League of the Central Pacific Region hosted Mohammad Darawshe and Gal Peleg Laniado, our Israeli Representative, for a discussion on Jewish-Arab relations in Israel in the wake of the Gaza war.  Following this summer's events many civil society leaders in Israel are assessing the long-term impact of the conflict and the escalation of tensions between Jews and Arabs within Israel. Mohammad Darawshe discussed Givat Haviva's commitment to fostering Shared Society in Israel, what initiatives worked to prevent violent escalation during this past summer's violence, and what action must be taken in order to heal divisions and allow Shared Society to flourish in Israel. 

Stay Connected
Like us on Facebook      
424 West 33rd Street, Suite 150
New York, NY 10001 � (212) 989-9272