When he was a boy, Yaakov Yonish‘s father told him to count the grains in a handful of sand and although it was quite obvious to him that this was impossible, his father taught him that he must keep on trying until he would succeed. Brought up in kibbutz Beit Hashita in the Jezreel Valley, Yaakov went to the Kaduri Agricultural school and for seven years worked as a shepherd. He became the senior functionary in the Machanot Olim youth movement and was instrumental in developing an ideology of “Association among others” which led to the establishment two years ago of a movement called “Moving together to a joint future”.
Salah Grifat was born in the Arab Bedouin village Zarzir in Northern Israel , was a building contractor and has been involved in local council affairs. As an community activist, Salah joined the “Moving together to a joint future” in its early days and has been elected to the position of joint chairman of the movement and spends most of his spare time to developing the organization.
“Moving together to a joint future” is a voluntary community based non-political organization with the goal of developing joint activities between Jews and Arabs in Israel, equitable style of living, mutual respect and what it means to be a minority in the State of Israel, and in the Middle East.
Already, hundreds of Jews and Arabs signed a “social covenant” which is basis of our beliefs. The covenant states: “The State of Israel, is a Jewish, democratic state for all its citizens.” The document supports two states for two peoples, but stresses activity within the State of Israel. The movement organizes a host of joint activities of Jews and Arabs, to bring about a better knowledge of each culture. The hundreds of such meetings have taken place in Jewish and Arab homes to enable dialogue between each other. They also carry out activities such as group photographs, drawing and painting, joint outings and group dancing. Over 250 Jews and Arabs attend courses given by outstanding lecturers on subjects such as “Human rights in Judaism and Islam, Eastern and
Western art, visits to various points of interest in the area, relating personal accounts, Arab customs and traditions, learning Arabic, and many more.
Once a month special events are held, musical evenings, representatives of the various religions and mass walking tours, photos of which are shown here.
“Marching for Peace” walks have been organized by this movement. Over 100 persons participated in a walk organized by the office of Lawers in Nazareth and at various stops on the way they were addressed by representatives of the Israeli Institute for Group Analysis. The participants were able to dialogue together about similar and differing aspects of their cultures.