Partners in Shaping Reality
Groups of Young Arab and Jews Engaging in Dialogue and Action
Partners in Shaping Reality establishes groups of Jewish and Palestinian students and youth engaging in dialogue and action across campuses. The program will promote a space for civic, political, and social discussions about the conflict and Jewish/Arab relations, and encourage social involvement and the importance of assuming responsibility for one’s social and political environment. The project takes place in areas where Jews and Palestinians come into daily contact with one another, and strives to cultivate the public sphere as a site for civic partnerships.
Young people represent a unique segment of society with the potential to influence and shape the social and political reality in Israel. Since Palestinian and Israeli youth are tomorrow’s leaders, it is extremely important to expose them to alternative points of view on the conflict, and to afford them the opportunity to engage in dialogue and cultivate partnerships from a place of solidarity. The ongoing conflict and the escalation we have witnessed this past decade have brought about a further deterioration in relations between the Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. With the end of the conflict nowhere in sight, recent legislation has exacerbated the process of delegitimizing the Palestinian citizens of Israel, deepening the rift between both communities. In the current social context in Israel, the opportunities for creating space for civic partnerships in which both communities – Jewish and Palestinian – can collaboratively promote a civic, social and political vision are few and far between. The Gemini project strives to make use of shared space by both communities because these are the places which on the one hand invite conflict, and on the other hand represent a potential framework for learning about partnerships and ways of reaching consent.
To offer a framework for constructive dialogue between Jews and Palestinians about the cultural, religious and other areas which divide them, and in so doing deepen mutual understanding and empathy. To create a safe space for dialogue which will challenge prejudices, condemn discrimination and racism, and offer an alternative sphere that promotes cooperation. To offer young Palestinians and Jews access and direct exposure to alternative perspectives on the historical narrative underlying the conflict. To raise awareness among young people from both nationalities about the power relations in politics and the minority-majority relations in Israel. To create sustainable bi-national frameworks in ten shared spaces and to link them to civil society organizations that support partnerships with the goal of influencing decision-makers and opinion-shapers. To cultivate and promote joint social initiatives aimed at affecting social change while emphasizing the scope for young people to influence and take part in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The project will work to promote change primarily in four areas:
On the personal sphere: The program strives to challenge the participants to listen to and understand their preconceptions on various issues, including inequality in Israel and Jewish-Palestinian relations. On the relational level: The program strives to build trust and partnerships between young Jews and Palestinians through public activities in universities and mixed cities. On the structural level: The Gemini groups will be linked to one another and to civil society organizations or other opinion-shapers in order to initiate change and influence decision-makers. On the cultural level: The program will focus on imparting alternative information in order to challenge prejudices and institutionalized racism as well as to promote a greater appreciation for the complexity of the conflict, its impact, and the current state of inequality between Jews and Palestinians.
Description of the project activities:
– Selection of 240 Palestinian and Jewish university students and young people (aged 18-25) from various universities and mixed cities throughout the country. – Creation of 10 bi-national groups, each of which will hold a series of 12 workshops led by experienced facilitators based on the educational program developed over the years by Sadaka Reut. – A joint seminar where groups will meet for two days to become acquainted with one another, gain professional enrichment, and exchange ideas. – Each group will carry out 1-3 social initiatives in the campus or city. – 5-10 participanrs will take part in the facilitation of new groups that will begin to operate on campuses and mixed cities during the following year.