Following the tour in Jaffa, participants from the Leaders for change in Mixed Cities course met local activists who are leading current social struggles in the city, the participants met last Friday at the School for Peace in Wahat al-Salam ~ Neve Shalom for dialogue and a lecture.During the discussion, the participants shared their thoughts following the tour in Jaffa, and the impact of Trump’s declaration about Jerusalem on life in mixed cities. The participants who ran for city council in the past in mixed cities, shared their experiences. Most of the experiences were difficult and it was clear the great personal price paid, especially since winning a seat in the council does not lessen the personal price. The main conclusion from the discussion is the importance of Jewish-Arab cooperation in these cities.After the discussion, Dr. Irit Keinan, a cultural and social researcher, presented her work in Jewish-Arab initiatives and innovative concepts of citizenship. Since the participants are expected to plan and take part in developing an initiative related to the area of mixed cities, the last part of the meeting was dedicated to a discussion about the projects which the participants are working on. The initiatives will be supported by the course’s staff and through a training workshop from Shatil.
The 2017-2018 Mixed Cities course is comprised of social activists and key position holders in these cities. Among them a city council member from Lydd and a director of a community center in a mixed neighbourhood in Jaffa. We see in front of us leaders whose world view and their path to solving problems is not based on militaristic or security-based views, but on a peace-based view, negotiations, social justice, and a shared life. During the course, we aim to connect between social activists from various cities, create a platform for initiating and implementing projects in mixed cities, and examining the unique aspects of mixed cities, on the sociological, educational, economic, and legal levels.
It was a great meeting, and it seems the participants are ready to embark on independent initiatives. One of the Arab participants summarized the meeting by saying, “It was a wonderful meeting, I felt closer to the participants because of the experiences we shared, the lecture was meaningful, and the discussion on the projects was empowering.”
Writer: Roi Silberberg, co-facilitator and program director at the School for Peace.