In these difficult days I find myself caught in the middle of opposing feelings. On the one hand, my heart is breaking for this terrible disaster and the abhorrent loss of so many lives. On the other hand, I know that in the parallel to the war, you can’t shut off critical thinking and activist actions promoting co-existence. As an educator, alongside the grief, I must emphasize the legitimacy of feelings of frustration, anger and criticism, for example, for the continuing neglect, abandonment and diversion of the Israel’s resources to specific sectors and as opposed to all sectors. We must continue even more fiercely to educate for democratic values, human rights, against racism and for co-existence. Therefore, I thought to dedicate this post to current initiatives that focus on co-existence. If you’ve heard of other such initiatives or are currently participating in a shared-life initiative, please let me know and I’ll add it on.
Here are some of the initiatives that I’ve come across:
In general, all over the country
Come hear about the Jewish-Arab partnership shifts – today, Saturday evening October 14th at 9pm, sign up for the Zoom. As we all know, the next days are going to be difficult and complicated. We know that any support we can offer each other is worth much. Any push by us to put our neighborhood bomb shelter to use, to collect food and games, to take in guests – can actually save lives. What we need now is Jewish-Arab partnerships, a common regional force dedicated to easing a little the reality in our region, and also preventing tension and violence between Jews and Arabs.
A shared prayer inspired by Etty Hillesum will be held October 15th, between 4-5pm. Credit for the title image of this post was taken from this link.
Beit Shemesh Abu Ghosh
The Arab-Jewish Solidarity Patrol
In opposition to nationalist extremists, we are establishing local Jewish-Arab partnership watch groups all over the country, against any attempt at violence and for a common future.
How shall we prevent violence???? In our experience, when we succeed in mobilizing the public to express Jewish-Arab solidarity – the call to violence loses whatever legitimacy it might claim and even the unconvinced may become convinced. This is how we isolate and weaken the extremists.
What does Jewish-Arab solidarity look like???? In our experience, where there’s Jewish-Arab solidarity, it’s easier to calm people and denounce extremists. Any time we join forces (food collection, hosting, repairing shelters…) we spread hope in lieu of violence.
Abdallah Abdel al Rahman – Abu Gosh
Ran Raviv – Beit Shemesh
Invite your friends to join https://chat.whatsapp.com/Jq4UMzCJKROCEVS17FrE2c
Facing a fear of violence in mixed cities, the “Joint Arab-Jewish Patrol” was established in Tel-Aviv-Yaffo. The Arab leadership in Yaffo held an emergency meeting on October 8th to forge an organization that would safeguard the Jewish-Arab partnership in the city and would act to prevent a repeat of the events of violence, hatred and racism seen in May 2021. The meeting participants decided to establish the “Joint Arab-Jewish Patrol in Tel-Aviv-Yaffo.” Its goals are to promote calm and prevent violence and incitement, through the establishment of a system of shifts and standbys that would ensure the safety of the residents, if the police and the municipality do not offer the appropriate response. Join the Whatsapp group and get a link for the Zoom meeting.
Now is the time for solidarity, take part in mutual aid and support activities throughout Jerusalem. While we are all busy supporting and assisting the residents of southern Israel, those harmed, bereaved families and the families of those taken hostage – there are those who are trying to incite violence. We see more and more extremist groups that call for nationalist violence on our streets. Against these threats, we are setting up a group for Jewish-Arab solidarity in Jerusalem to support one another, in our communities, neighbourhoods and throughout the city. Our purpose is to be in touch with the authorities and the different solidarity initiatives in the city, so we can reach each person who is presently in need of help. Together, we are strong. Join “Staying Safe Together.”
Initiatives of the Jewish-Arab social movement, “Most of the City”:
The pain is enormous and the loss for all of us is unbearable. Now is not the time to add violence and racism online or on the street, particularly not in our Haifa, a joint Jewish-Arab city that will remain so.
In cooperation with civilian groups and the municipality, we initiated “Guarding Haifa” – a civilian coalition for cooperation and prevention of violence between Jews and Arabs.
What can you do? If you encounter violence or fake news on Facebook groups, firstly, report to the group administrators to remove the posts. Secondly, report to FakeReporter to document the case. How do you do that? Click on this phone number 052-5862977 on Whatsapp, and in the chat that opens send a link of the problematic post and a screenshot of or click here.
Shared Haifa – shared responsibility
“Guarding Haifa” – organize in the neighborhood
Following the success of our shelters’ initiative, and after organizing residents to map, clean, fix and direct to all public shelters in the city, we are moving on to the next stage: We’ve opened 6 neighborhood groups with a dedicated set of coordinators and volunteers in order to provide a more accurate response for each neighborhood, each shelter and each community in the city. Join the group in your neighborhood:
Guarding Haifa – Ahuza and Carmel: https://chat.whatsapp.com/HWI8rwmfcvcI4jUTMHPUIX
Guarding Haifa – Shaar haAliyah: https://chat.whatsapp.com/FehsQuEaGJZIGQdSp7sX2b
Guarding Haifa – Bat Galim: https://chat.whatsapp.com/KTRMQKDtrmx4hOCEb251bb
Guarding Haifa – Hadar: https://chat.whatsapp.com/Cq02lqUZ4eZDKpZJdI25yj
Guarding Haifa – Talpiot Market: https://chat.whatsapp.com/Bp3Av4J4WPWDc0MqcYWJS9
Guarding Haifa – Western Carmel: https://chat.whatsapp.com/KQxxBO0wxS0AJI9EVEfJHy
Dozens of “Most of the City” activists and hundreds of volunteers, Jews and Arabs, from all neighborhoods, mapped, cleaned and fixed up ALL the public shelters in Haifa! The final ones that still require significant maintenance were handed over to City Hall to take care of.
Ahmed Tibi, member of parliament (Ta’al) and his team operate a hotline to help Arab and Jewish citizens.
In the South
For the first time in Israel: Jewish-Arab war room during the war, a Jewish-Arab war room was opened in Rahat to help Jewish and Arab families from the south who were affected by the war.
The war room was established by the organizations “Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?”, “Itach – Lawyers for Social Justice”, “Alnashmiat – Women’s Leadership in the Unrecognized Villages”, “Kochavei Hamidbar – for the Advancement of Young Bedouin Leadership” and the Rahat community center. The war room works purely on Jewish-Arab cooperation: donations are collected from Arabs and Jews, volunteers come from both societies, and the aid will be given to both Jewish and Arab families.
Attorney Hanan Alsana from the organization Itach: “The horror that occurred on the seventh of October skipped no one. The murderers did not distinguish between blood and blood, nor did the missiles. Jewish and Arab families both lost their loved ones and their homes. Both Arabs and Jews populate the lists of the abducted and missing.” The pain and fear are great all over the country.”
Shir Nosatzki, CEO of Have You Seen the Horizon Lately: “It’s easy to be afraid of each other. Both Arab and Jewish society in Israel have existed with built-in tension for years, and amid the pain and the anger – fear thrives. But within the fear, there are collaborations and solidarity that remind us that we are here together, with a common destiny. The Arab citizens of Israel are not only partners in mourning and loss, they are also partners in the effort to save, assist and restore everything that was destroyed.”
Bedouins from the north part of the Negev, mostly from the Al Azazma tribe, used their area knowledge and orientation and their off-road vehicles to search for missing people. They joined police and security guards from the local municipalities to continue searching, saving and evacuating the wounded to hospitals. Bir Hadj residents also joined the effort. Amal Abu Alkoum, an activist who heads the association “Bedouin Women for Themselves”, opened an operations room for the residents of the south, Bedouins and Jews. Arab and Jewish psychologists operated joint aid centers. It is worth adding that in the Bedouin villages in the south there are almost no protected spaces. Ra’am and the Islamic Association for Orphans and Infants initiated a project to install shelters (temporary protected buildings) in these settlements. To donate: https://bit.ly/3LUtkWs | For more details: Sasha 052-830-0535.
Beit Zarzir Friday Night
Arabs and Jews will light 1,300 memorial candles together in the Bedouin settlement Beit Zarzir.