Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids

by American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam
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Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids
Binational School for Jewish and Palestinian kids

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.

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Students at the Primary School are encouraged to use their voices in unity. Last spring, the students did just that when they wanted new computers. Inspired by a lesson in democracy, the students petitioned, organized and protested for a systems upgrade. Now, a year later, with the generous support of donors, the Primary School is celebrating the opening of the new library and computer lab!

The success of their endeavor and the generosity of key donors was recognized at an assembly of the students and teachers of the Primary School in the courtyard outside of the school buildings. The principal and teachers said some words of welcome, and the school musicians and choir played and sang songs to greet the visitors who contributed to the project.

The spirit of activism is alive in the students. With their new petition to expand the school to include middle school and high school, the steaks are much higher. They might have to wait more than a year to see results. This time they have enlisted friends and family to add their names to the petition. With over 400 signatures already, the petition has been submitted to the Ministry of Education and to the Municipal council.

You can support our students and give other children the opportunity to experience the inclusive, bicultural education that the Primary School offers by making a donation to AFNSWAS today. Over the past two years, our school enrollment is up 46%! It is due to the continued support of our donors that NSWAS’ message of peace continues to spread far and wide. Your gift is so important to the students of the Primary School. Thank you for your continued support. Together, we can make peace a reality.

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The students of the Primary School at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam are trying to get your attention! They have been learning about democracy, and how organizing protests and generating awareness can lead to change in their community. Taking this lesson to heart, they surprised the school administration with a petition to expand the school to include middle school and high school. In the petition, they expressed their strong desire to continue their education, learning in peace and cooperation with their Jewish and Palestinian friends. The students know that once they graduate from the Primary School, they will not be learning in an integrated, binational setting until college because it simply does not exist.

 

The Primary School at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam is a school that defies categorization. It is the only school in Israel where Palestinians and Jews learn together, in each other’s language, about each other and celebrate holidays together, in peace and cooperation. It’s literally one of a kind. Unfortunately, its uniqueness is a hindrance when it comes to government funding. In Israel, there is no ideal category for a mixed status of Jewish - Palestinian school in Israel. Schools must be either "Arab" or "Jewish". In order to keep the costs of tuition fees low enough to attract diverse socio-economic groups, The Primary School has been working with the Ministry of Education to gain recognition and to carve a path to guarantee that a cooperative, binational, education will continue to be possible and accessible to students and families who seek peace and cooperation between the two peoples.

 

One of our current projects has been to produce a fully documented syllabus for teaching in a bilingual, binational school environment. This is a work in progress (and something that we have been working on for many years). Our goal is to introduce a semi-formal teaching framework for the various cultures, languages and national identities of the people in the region. Eventually, this will help us to spread our curricula to other schools. This year, the school staff is focusing on building a model for language education and looking at the best ways to integrate bilingual educational goals into a school’s every day life.

 

We are dedicated to the continuing education of Jewish and Palestinian children as equals and their dreams of a future as friends, neighbors and citizens who want to live in peace and cooperation. With your support, we can make that dream a reality.

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The Primary School celebrated the culmination of another year, and said a bittersweet good bye to the 6th graders as they graduated and moved on to different middle schools. Before the school year concluded, the students of the Primary School were paid a heartfelt tribute of appreciation by the Italian Association for Jewish and Christian Friendship to commemorate the 20th year of Bruno Hassar’s passing. They received over 200 messages of peace from Italian students in a show of support for their dedication to the art of peace. The Primary School students reciprocated with their own messages of peace, bridging the gap between countries and cultures.

            The dedication to the art of peace in the face of hate was embodied by one of our very own teachers, Nadwa Jabar, who was the victim of a racist attack in May. Nadwa, along with Principal Carmella Ferber and four other Primary School teachers were invited to the Knesset to attend a special meeting on hate crimes and a discussion on the promotion of bilingual education.  Nadwa was invited to speak and appealed to the leaders of the country to address the violence and hate. The public recognition that Nadwa and the 3 children in her car were victims of terror is significant step toward equality. “We must be ambassadors of peace. We can live together and do a lot to change this reality.”-Nadwa Jabar      

The 2016-2017 school year will commence with the opening of a new and updated school library. With donations from our American, British and Swedish Friends, the library has been remodeled to better serve the needs of the students and accommodate technological upgrades. The Hagar School in Be’er Sheva and the Primary School will continue collaborating in the fall. Using new bilingual, binational literature, the teachers from both schools are cooperating to develop techniques and materials to advance bilingual education.

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The Primary School students organized a peaceful protest and demonstration, asking for new computers in the library to replace the old ones that are too slow.

Inspired by his 4th graders, who were studying democracy, teacher Rani decided to create and experience for them to understand how to work for change in society. 

By playing a football game in which he had divided the pupils into two uneven teams, one stronger and one weaker, the pupils became engaged in a vigorous discussion on how we act when we win or lose and what we can do when we think something is wrong, such as an imbalance of power.

The process was very serious.  Should they write a letter to the principal or should they demonstrate?

They requested a permit from the principal and began to organize, talking with the other classes, drawing up a petition and making signs, slogans and songs, with everything--discussions, signs, songs--in both Hebrew and Arabic! Marching to the teachers’ room, they began their protest with speeches and slogans.

There was also a small group of “counter protesters.” The principal addressed the group, promising to provide the computers by the beginning of the next school year.

"Somehow- despite the dismal state of what people call ’the political situation’-the Primary School at Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom remains an oasis of honest and caring encounter, exciting learning, and all-round joy for our students, staff, parent, and friends. Everyone involved contributes to this miracle with a shared outlook and hope for the future."

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Project Leader:
Abir Elzowidi
Associate Director
Glendale, CA United States
$38,302 raised of $80,000 goal
 
619 donations
$41,698 to go
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