Reducing Tensions

Following the violence that has plagued Israel in recent weeks, here are a few examples of how NIF grantees have tried to reduce tensions between Arabs and Jews:

In Wadi Ara, Awareness 4 U held a special vigil for peace, just as they did during the war in Gaza. The organisation’s director, Amne Kanane, said: “We felt that we had to do something in light of the recent deterioration. Together we can strengthen dialogue and partnership, together we can protect our democracy. All of us – Jews and Arabs, equal citizens before the law, condemn the killing and support a return to hope and optimism.”

Elsewhere, Tag Meir organised prayer vigils throughout the country – two in the Galilee, one near the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv, one in Wadi Ara, and one near Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate. Following each of these vigils, the participants (including members of the NIF study tour) distributed flowers and flyers calling for peace to local residents. The Jerusalem event featured prayers for peace in Hebrew, Arabic, English, German, and Yiddish.

Tag Meir Director Gadi Gvaryahu said: “At Tag Meir, we thought that by offering people in Israel the opportunity to pray together, it might give a sense of hope, and deepen the belief that we have to recognise how similar we are, and not just how different.”

Finally, on Sunday night, NIF’s Kick it Out programme and the Israel Football Association (IFA) organised a special half-time ceremony featuring Jewish and Arab children during the Israel vs. Bosnia European Championships qualifying game in Haifa. The game was attended by 32,000 spectators, including the Israeli President, Prime Minister, and Minister of Finance, and the ceremony also included a screening of the recent Kick it Out clip. Israel won the match 3-0, which for the first time in recent memory puts Israel in a good position for qualifying for the finals!

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November 2014