Peace is not a zero-sum equation. Those who seek an end to this conflict must find a way to support the legitimate concerns of Israelis and Palestinians alike, and the desire of those on both sides who want nothing more than for their children to know a future of peace and coexistence.
For decades, polls have shown that a majority of Israelis favour a two-state solution and are willing to make significant concessions to achieve a lasting, comprehensive peace agreement. But as the Hamas takeover of Gaza sadly demonstrates, peace requires two committed partners and public willingness on both sides to begin the process of reconciliation, coexistence, and mutual acceptance. In addition to political negotiations between the two parties, peace must be built from the ground up.
Thankfully, there are countless Israelis and Palestinians working together every day to lay the groundwork for peace. Canadians of all backgrounds have an opportunity to support innovative, grassroots programs in the region that help build trust between Israelis and Palestinians, educate children from both communities to engage and accept one another, foster Jewish-Arab economic cooperation, and create healthcare partnerships between Israeli and Palestinian doctors – among other life-changing initiatives.
We encourage you to review the suggestions provided in Seek Peace and Pursue It. CIJA would be happy to speak with you about how to host an event with these organizations in Canada, tour their projects in the region, or mobilize your community to support their vital efforts. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Abraham Fund Initiatives
Founded in 1989 and named for the common ancestor of Jews and Arabs, The Abraham Fund Initiatives is a non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing coexistence, equality and cooperation among Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens.
The Abraham Fund works exclusively in the field of Jewish-Arab relations inside Israel, enabling them to develop their expertise and focus their efforts toward a prosperous and equal society in Israel. Its strictly-observed policy of full Jewish-Arab partnership and equality in decision-making practices has established The Abraham Fund as a dedicated advocate of the civic interests of Arab society in Israel, working in close partnership with Arab NGOs and social movements on various projects and initiatives.
The Abraham Fund is able to leverage its resources and impact by combining advocacy activities with actions on the ground, disseminating knowledge gathered through their projects to partners in local and national government. Using this strategy, The Abraham Fund has successfully harnessed government resources to replicate successful programs and support policies that promote equality and coexistence between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel.
The Arab-Jewish Community Center (Jaffa)
The Arab-Jewish Community Center (AJCC) fosters intercultural and religious coexistence in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
The Arab-Jewish Community Center (AJCC) fosters intercultural and religious coexistence in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. The AJCC’s mission is twofold: firstly, to increase cooperation and positive relations between 3,000 Arabs and Jews through diverse tolerance programming. Secondly, to enrich the Tel Aviv-Jaffa community by organizing religious and cultural events and serving the city’s underprivileged population by providing education and training courses – in arts, sports, technology, and language – tailored to the needs of the community.
The overarching purpose of the AJCC is to create a cohesive, egalitarian and prosperous Tel Aviv-Jaffa that can serve as a model for the rest of Israel.
The Citizens’ Accord Forum between Jews & Arabs in Israel
The Citizens’ Accord Forum (CAF) works to build a shared and sustainable democracy in Israel where all social groups, regardless of their ethnic, religious and political affiliation, are full partners in shaping the future of Israeli society and receive equal opportunities to express their individual and collective identities.
The mission of CAF is to improve relations between groups in conflict in Israeli society and build bridges between them with various methods including: community-building & leadership development projects, dialogue & engagement projects, and policy & advocacy programs. CAF’s primary focus is on building a just and equal relationship between Jews and Arabs in Israel and ensuring full rights for all minorities.
Givat Haviva aims to build an inclusive, socially cohesive society in Israel by engaging divided communities in collective action toward the advancement of a sustainable, thriving Israeli democracy based on mutual responsibility, civic equality and a shared vision of the future.
This is achieved through facilitating cross-community projects; leading training and capacity-building activities; convening seminars, workshops and conferences to cultivate concrete ideas that foster change; and translating these ideas into action.
A leader in its field, Givat Haviva was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education in 2001 for its longstanding work in promoting Jewish-Arab dialogue and reconciliation.
Heart to Heart
For the past three summers, Givat Haviva and Hashomer Hatzair have partnered to bring a group of Jewish and Palestinian Israeli youth from Israel to a three-week coexistence program hosted by Camp Shomria in Ontario.
Participants spend two and a half weeks taking on the challenge of living together in this close camping environment. While at camp, they tackle issues of politics, culture and identity through dialogue, group-building activities and experiential learning. The program culminates with a public reception held in Toronto, where members of Toronto’s diverse Jewish and Arab communities come together to hear participants speak about their experiences.
Hand in Hand
Building shared society. One school, one community at a time.
Hand in Hand brings together thousands of Jews and Arabs in six schools and communities throughout Israel: in Jerusalem, the Galilee, Wadi Ara, Jaffa, Haifa, and Tira-Kfar Saba, our newest community. We translate the ideals of mutual recognition, inclusion and equality into practice every single day.
Over the next ten years, we aim to create a network of 10-15 schools, supported and enhanced by community activities, involving more than 20,000 Arab and Jewish Israeli citizens – learning together, living together. Hand in Hand’s growing network offers a clear alternative to the cycle of fear, hatred and violence and proves the viability of social inclusion and civic equality in Israel.
Interfaith Encounter Association
The Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA) enables people from different cultural backgrounds and faiths to meet a diverse group of individuals with similar interests.
Offering an array of groups across Israel, the IAE ensures there are opportunities for everyone who wants to participate. Each group’s goal is to foster open dialogue and encourage meaningful encounters that bring members closer to one another.
Using this model for inter-communal relations, the IAE transforms prejudice, hostility, and suspicion into direct acquaintance, mutual respect, and friendship.
The Jerusalem Foundation of Canada
Over the last 50 years, the Jerusalem Foundation, in cooperation with friends around the world, has founded more than 4,000 initiatives, both capital projects and long-running programs, forming the community and cultural infrastructure of Jerusalem.
It is the mission of the Jerusalem Foundation to shape a modern, unified and vibrant city by creating opportunities for economic growth, education, vulnerable populations, dialogue and shared living, arts and culture and Jerusalem’s population groups.
The Jerusalem Intercultural Centre (JICC) works to promote and advance city-wide cultural competence, making Jerusalem a city that provides all of its residents with access to relevant services and public spheres and empowers its most vulnerable populations to become stakeholders in impacting the city and its communities.
The Bloomfield Science Museum brings together young people of all backgrounds to interact and learn important coexistence values through the universal language of science. The Jewish-Arab Science Club is one of the many educational initiatives available at the museum that emphasize interaction between people of diverse backgrounds.
The Foundation is committed to creating a flourishing city as a source of inspiration for its people and the world, preserving its past and laying the groundwork for a dynamic future.
The Mosaica Center for Religious Conflict Transformation in the Middle East is a non-profit organization founded in 2004 by Rabbi Michael Melchior and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, two leading figures in the field of peace and reconciliation, joined by Jewish leaders in the areas of education, religion, culture and society, who are committed to reconciliation and inter-religious dialogue.
Mosaica’s vision is founded on the premise that effective dialogue between Jews and Muslims is only possible under conditions of mutual trust in the realm of religion. This derives from the understanding that today’s conflict in the Middle East is based not only upon territory but also upon culture, ethnicity and religion, which are at the root of the conflict and are key to its resolution.
The Center is committed to providing an innovative approach to conflict transformation and resolution, based on universal and traditional Jewish values of mutual respect, reconciliation and justice
Peres Center For Peace
Founded in 1996 by President of Israel and Nobel Laureate Shimon Peres, the Peres Center for Peace develops and implements a wide range of projects designed to promote lasting peace and advancement in the Middle East, by fostering tolerance, economic and technological development, cooperation and wellbeing all in the spirit of President Peres’ vision.
The Peres Center’s innovative programs comprise a diverse and multi-faceted spectrum of participants – Jews and Arabs; Israelis and Palestinians; old and young; women, men, children and youth; professionals and agents of change.
By focusing on common interests, the Peres Center continues to successfully forge lasting partnerships based on mutual respect and understanding. Programs in fields such as medicine, sports, agriculture, business, education, technology and the arts are designed to empower the populations of this region to be actively engaged in peace-building in order to advance the creation of a real, effective and durable peace. Barriers are broken down, fears are overcome, dialogues are conducted and friendships are formed, paving the way to a real and lasting peace between peoples.
Project Rozana is a multi-faith international organization that builds bridges of understanding between Israelis and Palestinians by funding activities in the health sector.
Rozana supports projects in the areas of training, treatment and transport. These include joint PTSD training of Jewish-Israeli and Arab-Israeli psychotherapists at Hadassah Hospital; the specialist training of Palestinian doctors at Israeli hospitals; the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli hospitals, e.g., Sheba and Assuta, when such care is unavailable in the Territories; and the transportation of Palestinian patients to hospitals in Israel by over 1000 Israeli volunteers.
The latest Rozana Canada project will fund “patient navigators” who will provide psycho-social assistance, interpretation and after care for Palestinian patients being treated in Israeli hospitals. This will reduce the need for Arab-Israeli medical staff to abandon their regular duties in order to assist these patients.
Road to Recovery
Road to Recovery is a grassroots organization composed of 500 Israeli volunteers throughout the country.
Save a Child’s Heart
Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) is an Israel-based international humanitarian project, whose mission is to improve the quality of pediatric cardiac care for children from developing countries and to create centers of competence in treating pediatric heart disease in these countries.
SACH is totally dedicated to the idea that every child deserves the best medical treatment available, regardless of the child’s nationality, religion, colour, gender or financial situation. SACH is motivated by the age-old Jewish tradition of Tikkun Olam – repairing the world.
By mending the hearts of children, regardless of their origin, SACH is contributing to a better and more peaceful future for all our children. The SACH mission is achieved through: providing cardiac surgery and other
life-saving procedures for children from developing countries at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel; providing a full outreach training program in Israel for medical personnel from these countries; leading surgical and teaching missions to partner countries in the developing world; and holding pre-operative and follow-up cardiology clinics in Israel and abroad.
The Center of Technology, Education and Cultural Diversity (TEC) was founded in January 2005 by the heads of the IT departments and the principals of three teacher education colleges: Kibbutzim College, Talpiot College and Al-Qasami College.
TEC develops inter-college and online activities between Jewish and Arab Israelis – both academic staff and students – in the different colleges. These activities include conferences, academic courses and inter-school projects. The Center is partially funded by the Israeli Ministry of Education and philanthropic organizations.
As a result of TEC’s efforts, since 2007, fifth and sixth graders from nine schools throughout Israel have been studying online and learning about technology with children from three sectors in Israel; secular Jewish, religious Jewish and Arab.
Founded in 2008, Tsofen (“Cipher”) High Technology works to promote the integration of Israel’s Arab citizens into the high-tech industry as a means of promoting economic development, reducing poverty, creating high-value jobs in Arab urban centers and integrating Arab citizens into Israel’s civil society.
Tsofen’s goals are to work with the Arab community and stakeholders from the local, governmental and private sectors to (1) add thousands of Arabs into Israel’s high-tech sector and (2) assist in the creation of high-tech centers as anchors in Arab towns.
In its first five years, Tsofen tripled the number of Israel’s Arab citizens employed in high-tech (from 400 to 1,200) and caused a ten-fold jump in the number of engineering jobs in Nazareth (from 30 to 350). Its goal for the coming five years is to create and advocate the structure required to scale this integration, touching tens of thousands of people and all of Israel’s regions.