Our various activities and projects take place throughout the year, but one of the most important aspects of many of our projects, and a key part of our vision, is the interaction of visitors from abroad - groups and individuals, old and young - with our Arab-Jewish projects. During the period between May and July we hosted more than 60 visiting groups from abroad, in many cases opening their eyes to aspects of Israeli society which were completely new (and sometimes shocking) to them.
Invariably we find that these encounters lead to listening to each other, accepting different narratives, laughter and engagement with ''the other'' and frequently friendship, which today begins with the exchange of Facebook profiles!
The following is a selection from those encounters, in words and pictures.
Four of our Arab teenagers from Majd al-Krum traveled with our staff to Kibbutz Sha'ar HaGolan, to meet a group of Jewish teenagers from New Jersey who were participants in the Diller Teen Fellows program (pictured above). Despite the heat, non-functioning air conditioner, and the late hour, and the intensive day (for the Americans), and the festival (of Eid al-Fitr, for the Arabs) – conversations flowed, laughter flowed, and significant issues were dealt with!
We hosted more Diller Teen Fellows on Eid, this time from South Africa. They gathered with a group of Arab teenagers from Majd al-Krum, together with a group from an Israeli youth program from various communities, spending three weeks in different communities; at the time they were living in the neighboring village of Deir al-Asad. The three groups are pictured - as one fittingly - below, with staff member Sigalit Ur (right). It is often hard to tell who is from which group, which is exactly the point we are making in a way!
The meeting was held in the Deir al-Asad community center, and there were some fascinating conversations. Even during the introductory conversation, one of the young people from South Africa struggled to understand how it was possible that the communities in Israel were so separate – was this apartheid, he asked? Some kids from Majd al-Krum and a young Jewish girl from Jerusalem, discovered their narratives could have been about the establishment of completely different states. And several groups were having interesting conversations about God!