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Shared Society Day in Youth Movement Branches

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

Since the 1990s we have witnessed a considerable decline in the relations between Israel’s Jewish majority and its Arab community. While the Arab community has in many ways moved towards the mainstream, including the presence of an Arab political party in the last government, deep inequality, alienation, and mistrust still linger. Economic inequality and inequality of opportunity make life in many Arab communities difficult and feed animosity; and the Jewish majority has become less open to co-existence projects with Arab Israelis (and the peace process generally) during this period.

However, last week, in over 100 Jewish branches of the HaNoar HaOved youth movement, a day of programming was dedicated to learning about the need to strengthen Israel’s shared society, obstacles in the road to peace, and issues facing Arab Israelis.

Language learning creates important bridges between Jews and Arabs.

In its Arab and Jewish branches throughout the country, the HaNoar HaOved youth movement encourages participants of all backgrounds to build a more shared society by educating towards peace, democracy, and equality. Through shared encounters as well as parallel educational programming, participants have a chance to learn about one another, gaining important perspectives and knowledge which will help them to lead the way to a more just and equal Israel.

4th through 7th grade participants spent the day getting acquainted with Arab Israeli culture. Through games and group challenges, participants learned phrases in Arabic, got to know Muslim and Christian holiday customs, and tasted traditional foods.

8th and 9th grade participants challenged themselves to unpack prejudices- societal and their own. They spoke about the roots of the prejudices they may feel and the need to challenge them in order to increase equality and constructive, peace building encounters.

10th through 12th graders got to know various challenges facing Arab Israelis today. Touching on issues such as economic inequality, racism, and higher rates of violence in Arab communities, the teens explored difficult topics and their impact on Arab Israelis. They discussed the need to increase encounter and understanding between Jews and Arabs in Israel, as well as the urgency of addressing the existing inequality in order to create a more equal and shared society.

Getting to know one another and discussing current issues creates vibrant and lasting connections between Jewish and Arab youth movement participants.

Dror Israel educators and the associated HaNoar HaOved youth movement continue to lead the way towards peace through increasing understanding, encounter, and equality between its 90,000 Jewish and Arab participants.

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