in the Negev
In the Negev, Jews and Arabs live side by side. However, despite the geographic proximity of Arab and Jewish villages, meaningful interaction between the two groups is extremely limited. Each respective group’s knowledge of the “other” is predominantly based on superficial meetings and stereotypes. Overall, Jewish and Arab residents of the Negev avoid social contact and partnership.
The “Shared Society in the Negev” program facilitates a continuous set of meetings between Arab and Jewish high school class groups over a three year period from grades 10-12. The students meet approximately 12 times each year under the direction of teachers who underwent the AJEEC-NISPED – Ministry of Education training course. During the meetings the students get to know one another, learn about their similarities and differences and are exposed to the issues that concern each of the two communities separately as well as the entire Negev. The program mitigates stereotyping, strengthens interpersonal trust, and encourages collaboration for the betterment of the Negev and the building of a shared society based on equality.
The students choose a regional issue and jointly develop a plan of action. Examples include: prevention of road accidents, education for tolerance, helping children with special needs and more.
The program is recognized by the Ministry of Education for its social matriculation diploma and many program graduates move on to participate in AJEEC-NISPED’s “Community Volunteer Year” post-high school program