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Jul 17, 2017

Program interviews and evaluations

Program interviews and evaluations demonstrate that the youth encounter workshops do achieve their goals, stated above. Participants gain a deeper understanding of themselves, of the conflict, of the role identity plays in the conflict and acquire dialogue tools that allow them to gain respect and understanding for one another, even though they may disagree.

 

The following two excerpts, one from a Jewish participant and one from a Palestinian participant, were selected from the numerous evaluations from of the youth encounter workshops because of their representative nature. These excerpts demonstrate the impact of the program.

 

The workshop offered us the framework and the time to confront difficult questions, and to reach a point at which we could listen to each other without feeling a need to compete over who suffers more.  We saw that as Jews and Palestinians we shared a mutual need to have our pain recognized, or understood, by the other.

                                                                                    -Jewish participant

 

In this workshop we talked about creating better relations between these two peoples who live on this land.  I don’t know whether we were successful.  But I am persuaded more than ever that we have no choice but coexistence.  I feel after this workshop that the conflict isn’t just territorial or geographic, but very much more centered on the quality of our relations as two peoples who are bound to one another whether we like it or not—we have to find ways of understanding that.

                                                                                 -Palestinian participant

Jun 26, 2017

Growing, Changing, Adapting

The unique nature of the Primary School as the first and only bilingual, binational school in the country presents a multifaceted challenge when it comes to state funding, categorization and definition.

To be affordable enough to attract a diverse socio-economic population of students from outside of the village, the Primary School has given up its status as a recognized independent school and has been accepted by the Ministry of Education as an official state school. It was a decision that the community and school did not take lightly.

The Primary School is neither ‘Palestinian’, nor ‘Jewish’, but those are the only two categories available for state schools. Satisfying the bureaucratic requirements to make the switch was a lengthy and time consuming process. Ultimately, however, the increased funding received relieves some of the financial burdens for parents and for donors who care deeply about the school’s mission. Enrollment is up 25% for this year and the NSWAS community is so happy to be welcoming so many new families.

To maintain the Primary School’s identity as a leader in Jewish-Palestinian education, the they are working to define its category beyond the official school designation and have several applications pending.

Being a pioneer is never easy but their success so far is undeniable. Teachers and administrators are currently working on a fully documented curriculum that defines the framework for a fully integrated school with a model for language education that outlines bilingual educational goals and how to build them into everyday lesson plans.

Eventually, the Primary School’s curriculum will be formalized in such a way that it can be adopted by other schools.

Jun 12, 2017

Seeing Both Sides

What is the value of understanding? What is the impact of first-hand experience? That moment of realization and discovery, the “ah-ha” moment, leaves an indelible mark that changes your mind.

The Massa-Masar program provides the opportunity for Jewish and Palestinian teenagers to discover each other on their own terms. Everything gets put on the table. What do they know about each other? What do they think about each other? What is their life like? It is usually the first conversation that either group has ever engaged in with the “other”.

Guided by facilitators who are experts in conflict resolution, these teenagers step into each other’s world and see another story, another perspective and another reality.  The facilitators, one Jewish and one Palestinian, work together as an example to the participants of an equal partnership. Through the program, participants glimpse another possibility; a reality where ‘mine’ and ‘yours’ becomes ‘ours’.

“I will take an important lesson with me, that everything is possible, there is always hope, there are good people around, regardless of their religion or background.” -Alif Palestinian participant

“We see that it is possible. It starts from this age. It starts now. It mustn’t wait. We shouldn’t be afraid of it, we simply need to dare.” Eden, Jewish participant.

These face-to-face interactions are the introductions that these Jewish and Palestinian youths will bring with them into their adult lives.

By contributing to this program, you can be a part of the peace process. A process that begins when people see the possibility of another reality. Your support creates the opportunities for Jewish and Palestinian youth to have the chance to meet as equals and realize that the conflict is not insurmountable, and that change begins with them.

 
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