top of page

Playing for Peace: Youth Leaders Strengthen Akko's Social Fabric

In early August, a group of 30 young Arab and Jewish residents engaged in friendly games, marking a significant step in an ongoing series of meetings that have unfolded over the past year between the two communities in the city of Akko. Following the events of May 2021, when violent riots strained relationships between Jews and Arabs in Akko, these encounters hold a vital role in rebuilding trust and fostering a robust social fabric among the city's young leaders.

A series of challenges gave teens a chance to show off their skills.

Participating in these games were members of local branches of the HaNoar HaOved, the youth movement associated with Dror Israel. The participants have recently graduated from the Leadership Empowerment Institute, which equipped them with the skills to become leaders and role models in their neighborhoods. As the upcoming school year approaches, they are poised to become junior counselors for hundreds of children and teenagers, facilitating positive and constructive interactions among the city's youth. With both a Jewish and Arab branch in Akko, HaNoar HaOved recognizes the necessity of distinct spaces to address unique challenges within each population, in addition to shared spaces that encourage mixed encounters.

The wide variety of games gave everyone a chance to work together.

The Municipality of Akko acknowledges HaNoar HaOved's instrumental role in orchestrating productive and peaceful meetings between the city's diverse populations. With limited opportunities for Arab and Jewish youth to interact, these programs provide a much-needed bridge. When the Municipality identifies a need for cross-community interactions, they know that they can count on the leaders of HaNoar HaOved. Nadav, the leader of the Jewish branch, and Amara, the leader of the Arab branch, have collaborated closely, particularly after the 2021 riots, to establish a harmonious and friendly future for all of Akko's youth.

In mixed teams, the Jewish and Arab teens overcame challenges together.

"For this program, we brought together 15 participants from each branch," Nadav shared. "Initially, there were language barriers and hesitancy to mix into teams, but gradually, trust was built, and connections formed." This positive experience serves as a foundation for ongoing interactions and shared programs among the city's youth, led by the teenage participants, that will continue throughout the year.

Kudos to these remarkable young individuals who, with their bravery and inspiration, are shaping a unified future in the heart of Akko!

24 views0 comments


bottom of page