As you know the purpose of the ‘Dialog Together’ website is to promote initiatives and activities for joint action between Arabs and Jews, mostly what the media feeds us is the exact opposite of this. This is the place to focus on those seeking and pursuing peace who uphold and maintain it daily. This time, I chose to concentrate on interesting actions resulting from three initiatives (small to large) that promote dialog and understanding between Jewish and Arab communities. A clip that consists of unique photographs taken by talented photographer Gal Mosenson in a nursery school and multicultural kindergarten located in the Bedouin settlement Hilf belonging to the Basmat-Tab’un municipality – “Ein Bustan –  “מעיין בבוסתן –  عين البستان. A bilingual clip that encourages creating a shared culture through joint songs produced by Sharon Ramon, the principal of the כולנא יחד كلنا ياحد”  Kulana Yahad” school in Jaffa. And also, the original rap music clips made by Uriya Rosenman and Sameh “Saz” Zakout, that show the authentic dialog between these two young men, founders of “Dugri”– an educational musical initiative for shared life through social change.

Let’s start with Ein Bustan, a Jewish-Arab non-profit organization for social change in the areas of bilingual and multi-cultural education according to Waldorf education principles. The organization’s purpose is to bring together and form a bridge between the neighboring Jewish and Arab populations, to create together a society  based on sharing and peace. The organization was founded in 2005 by Jewish and Arab parents from neighboring communities in the Lower Galilee, and it provides the children of both nations an opportunity to get to know each other, respect and mingle from a young age. Ein Bustan’s members have a common social vision, in which Arabs and Jews live together in equality, peace and mutual understanding. To create this reality, the members share languages and cultures and consider diversity a resource and opportunity for enrichment and learning – not a reason for conflict. The Ein Bustan organization runs pre-schools for children aged 1-6, a nursery school and a multi-age kindergarten in Hilf, in Basmat-Tab’un. The children learning in these establishments come from neighboring municipalities, Kiryat Tivon, Basmat-Tab’un and other nearby villages and settlements. Ein Bustan also runs other activities that promote dialog and understanding among the Jewish and Arab communities, such as learning groups, after-school classes, listening circles and cultural events. The Ein Bustan nursery and kindergarten are based on the Waldorf education method. The Waldorf method supports creating common ground by emphasizing nature, music and art. The program is bilingual in Hebrew and Arabic. Another of its guiding principles is learning to listen from a place of empathy without judgement, other guidelines in daily life are the imperatives: “love thy neighbor as thyself” and “ask for peace and pursue it.” Ein Bustan’s educational endeavors and its nursery school won a prize for excellence as an initiative for tolerance and peace and official recognition by the Ministry of Education. One of the community’s members, Gal Mosenson, a gifted photographer, has recently created a clip about Ein Bustan’s activities.

Another initiative that I feel is important to share is the production of joint music clips for bilingual songs together with their creators and the students from the Jaffa binlingual school — כולנא יחד كلنا ياحد”  Kulana Yahad,” a humanistic Hebrew-Arabic school in Jaffa, a public-school verging on three neighborhoods bringing together children from these neighborhoods who believe in bi-cultural, humanistic and diverse education. The school believes that a joint culture is an important part of the shared identity of boys and girls, it allows for meaningful conversations, enjoyable experiences, rich and rewarding perspectives but most importantly, creating a true ‘together space.’ A year ago, the school’s principal, Sharon Ramon understood the need to build a joint culture, and this dream has come true. As part of the school’s approach, they created a bilingual song project of translating songs from Hebrew into Arabic and vice-versa in the hopes of writing songs that represent a joint space. The dream is to hear more Arabic in the Israeli culture space and more bilingual songs in the Israeli-Palestinian space.

The song “I love chocolate and cheesecakes” with a new arrangement in Hebrew and Arabic is the first song of the bilingual project at the Kulana humanistic Hebrew-Arabic school in Jaffa. Yehonatan Geffen, Yoni Rechter and all the creators of the ‘Hakeves Hashisha Asar’ gave their blessings and cooperated. Musical production and piano – Asaf Harris, Mira Awad – singing, Noam Vazana – singing, Itay Burg – singing and mix, Nitzan Bar – guitars, Dudi Shein – bass, On Kadosh – oud, Ben Eilon – percussion instruments, Suha Atrash, Amal Salam – translation, Dvir Keren – photography and editing, Sharon Michaeli-Ramon – production.

The second song produced is “Hedgehog with a suitcase” from Rinat Hoffer’s children’s album, ‘A cloud on a stick,’ featuring Yarden Bar Kochva, Idan Alterman, Didi Shahar and Tal Blecharoviz together with Mira Awad. It’s a children’s song that combines nonsense and a great linguistic register, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

וAnd now for the older youngsters participating in the project, the “Dugri” duo, Sameh “Saz” Zakout and Uriya Rosenman who promote authentic ‘dugri’ dialog through orinigal rap music and clips that they create. They decided to put aside the partisan politics of left and right and talk about the life of young people, and possibly all our lives here in Israel and that they ‘bring to the table radicalism, nationalism and prejudice’ impolitely and unapologetically and thus gain many followers who feel that it’s the right thing to do to speak “dugri” finally and stop being “self-righteous.” Coming from a place of recognizing the pain and the years of absorbing a culture of separation and racism they work cooperatively together to build a shared future. Their first clip “let’s talk dugri” focused on describing the stereotypical sayings of each group towards the other, Jews to Arabs and Arabs to Jews. But in their new Rap clip ‘Munfas – Breathable Air’ they rap about each other’s emotions and inner-feelings to create an authentic discourse that comes from the gut and the lungs…when I watch it, I have no air. How about you?

And here’s their first clip “let’s talk dugri” for anyone who’s missed it:

And we’ll finish off with Eran Singer’s article in the ‘Kol Israel’ supplement from the Kan evening news about the ‘Dugri’ duo, Uriya Rosenman and Sameh Zakout that follows them through the days of Ramadan 2022, in light of the events of May 2021 in Israel. It’s so interesting to hear them talk about everything even during these days of increasing tension between Jews and Arabs and how they try to encourage a new type of dialog.