Jewish Gap Year
The mission of the Arab-Jewish Gap Year is to build genuine partnership between recent Arab and Jewish high school graduates. During the year-long program, participants attend workshops and seminars that create their own vision space shared between the two communities.
After graduating from the program, participants become community ambassadors, encouraging discourse and action among their circles of friends and acquaintances and advancing a vision of shared society. Program graduates also are invited to join the Alumni Community currently being set-up.
The Arab-Jewish Gap Year program was founded in 2002. Since then, more than 500 young people from both communities have participated. Currently, the program has four separate groups. Two are in the original location, the Negev. In 2015, the program expanded to the mixed Central Israeli city of Lod, in partnership with the Citizens Building a Community organization. The following year, another cohort was established in Jaffa, with Tsedaka-Re’ut as the local partner. Annually the program engages around 70 participants.בכל מחזור משתתפים כ-70 צעירות וצעירים.
Each group, comprised of equally of Arabs and Jews, spends four days a week as volunteers at local elementary and high schools from both communities. The also organize informal education activities, such as after school enrichment programs both on-site at the schools and, in the Negev, through the AJEEC-NISPED Youth Organization. One day, each week is devoted to joint in-service training including professional training (such as working with children), cultural awareness and “dialogue between identities”.
The program is implemented in partnership with the Israel Scouts Movement, who are responsible for recruitment and engagement of the Jewish participants.