Shared living must begin with children. That is the rationale behind the campaign Learning to Live Together (website in Hebrew and Arabic) launched last week by the Shatil-led Education for Shared Living Forum in conjunction with the UN’s International Day for Tolerance, November 16.
The campaign aims to get more schools to join in efforts to impart these important values to children.
“It’s critical to try and balance the atmosphere of fear and hatred, to influence it in the direction of appreciation of diversity, mutual understanding, and genuine curiosity about other groups,” said Forum member Myriam Darmoni Charbit, Director of Civic Education and Shared Society at the Center for Educational Technology.
“During the week leading up to International Day of Tolerance, we are reaching out to new populations of educators whom we feel might be more open to hearing these messages after the painful last month.”
The site contains a multitude of resources that help teachers to bring these subjects and values to life with their students. Included are curriculums from the Ministry of Education’s Shared Living and Citizenship Department as well as useful materials from a wide variety of organizations – many of them NIF grantees.
Suggested activities and lesson plans include meetings between Jewish and Arab students, programs that integrate Arab teachers in Jewish schools, Arabic lessons, and collaborations between Jewish and Arab schools of neighboring communities – all of which give kids the tools to deal with the complex realities of modern day Israeli society.
The bilingual site also contains information on organizations that can help guide schools in carrying out shared living activities. It features a call from principals and teachers already implementing shared society activities for others to join them.
“If more people feel they belong to Israeli society, there will hopefully be less violence,” said Darmoni Charbit.