A flurry of activity marked a different kind of Ramadan last week for Arab and Jewish residents in the predominantly Jewish town of Karmiel. After a workshop on using media to promote social change, members of Shatil’s Karmiel Shared Society Project, together with Women Wage Peace, handed out flowers in honor of Ramadan at Karmiel’s main intersection.
Karmiel has historically been a Jewish city, but in recent years Arab citizens have moved to the city. Today, the Arab population amounts to 10% of the city’s residents.
“We distributed 250 flowers and greeting cards to passing cars, and said we were from the Shared Society Project. The responses ran from curious to heartwarming, and many Arabs and Jews wished us a happy Ramadan,” says Doaa Diab-Abu Elhija, Shatil’s coordinator for periphery communities.
The group also enjoyed the more traditional celebration of the holiday by sharing festive Iftar (break-fast) meals together with study sessions and lectures. MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List, attended one such event on education in the Arab sector. Participants discussed the importance of establishing an Arab school in the town and made a plan to present their idea to the Knesset Education Committee together with Shatil, and NIF grantees, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and Mosawa.
Shatil and Karmiel residents established the local Shared Society Project to promote more cultural activities, services, and signage reflecting Arab language and culture, and the need for more contact between the two groups.