By Rajaa Natour and Natalie Levy, Partners in Shaping Reality (Gemini) Coordinators
In the complex political reality in which we live, Jewish Palestinian partnership is seen as impossible fiction, like something from outer space. Therefore, on this seminar we chose to show the Partners in Shaping Reality participants how partnership is enacted in different arenas – in the education system and in a mixed living space.
We viewed two partnership models – the bi-lingual school in Jerusalem and Oasis of Peace (Neve Shalom / Wahat a Salaam) village – both not as ideals but with the good and bad that reality brings. Partnership usually starts from a vision, from positive motivations and from a will to change and challenge the segregation. But it runs into much difficulty, some expected and some unexpected, arising from the segregation logic controlling the Israeli reality, from the space the national identities take up in our consciousness, in a way that is sometimes unconscious.
Partnership, therefore, is chosen anew every day, it is not left as an idea but is accompanied by continuing practice, in its thinking and in its tangible and practical translation in real life. On the other hand, it inspires, empowers and helps the Jewish and Palestinian participants to understand the strength and advantages it brings despite the challenges it encompasses.
A participant of the Tel Aviv University group wrote to the Oasis of Peace people following the seminar: “beyond the sense of hope and the renewed faith you planted in us, we were happy to see there is a place like yours, that you don’t have to be ‘weirdos’ in order to live together and build partnership. Partnership was the word that led our seminar – how do you do it, how do you think it, and how do you get along and make it happen also when it hurts, with the big issues.”