Friendship Village
International Center for Education for Peace and Human Rights in a Multi-Cultural Society
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About us      Projects        Activities      Board      Contact us

Annual report of 2006 Activity

The year of 2006 will be remembered as a period in which after a couple of years of experimenting, our Projects have been successfully established.

1 – Academic Courses

The last year we worked in cooperation with 3 academic institutions: Emeq Yizre'el Academic College – our oldest partner (3 courses), Levinsky Academic College for Education (2 courses) and the Haifa University (2 courses). The cooperation was through joint execution of fully evaluated academic courses in these institutions. Though the content in each institute was different, the methods - introduced by us - were alike: the Academic institute comprised lectures, while under our responsibility were dynamic workshops, run by facilitators of Friendship Village. Each course included 12 – 13 weekly sessions of 4 successive hours each: first two hours were devoted to lecture and discussions, the second part to elaboration and internalization of their subjects, on the emotional level. In financing the courses we had the lion's share, even though our financial participation is diminishing from year to year.

To understand this unique approach, one has to realise the subjects of these courses:

1 – Woman Educators for Peace & Human Rights
2 – Ethnocentrism and Racism in Israeli society - a feminine approach
3 – Sociology of Occupation

Participants were Jewish and Arab (mostly) woman students for education, in their 2nd and 3rd year of studies for B.A., (selection to get proper number and national composition was done by staff of the Academic institutions). Uppermost limit of participants' number was a total of 20. We had to put limitation on number of participants, as this is the maximum for standard workshop. National composition is integral part of our approach to projects. It was accepted without any reservation by our partners. We would like to have a proportion of 50:50, however we had to compromise with reality. In all courses there was a certain majority of Jewish participants.
Methods used in these courses brought academic studies close to the real life and built commitment among participants, to the values transferred to them.

Cooperation between us and the academic institutions has real benefits for all partners: the institution gets fund for more courses, as well as new, novel ways to transfer their messages to students, the students get new, unique experience – and academic benefits. We get willing participants to our project, comfortable physical environment to work, academic support (lecturers, obligatory framework) – and enjoy the respectability of the institution.

Woman Educators for Peace & Human Rights (in cooperation with Emeq Yizre'el Academic College)
The Course focuses on two subjects: Inter-ethnic encounter and dialogue and feminine empowerment.
Participants were 16 - 19 Jewish and Arab female students for education, on their 2nd and 3rd year of BA studies, with smaller or greater Jewish majority.

This was our 2nd to 4th  course in the Emeq Yizre'el Academic College. The Institute's staff is very pleased with the partnership. In a meeting between our Educational staff and Ms. Alisa Shenhar (President of the College) and Ms. Mika Kaptor (Academic Director) they even expressed their willingness to expand it to further courses - in case of getting more available funds.

In October 2006 a general assembly was hold for all participants of the first 3 courses. About 30 participants of the assembly discussed about ideas concerning possibility of spreading the Courses' message over the school system.
We mean to turn this assembly to an annual event.

Last January, when we have finished 4 cycles of this Project, a statistic evaluation was hold about its efficiency and our conclusions. The evaluation included questionnairs and telephonic interviews in participation of graduates from all cycles.
Results can be requested from Jonatan Peled by whoever is interested.

Ethnocentrism and Racism in Israeli society (in cooperation with Levinski Academic College for Education)
Participants: 19 Jewish and Arab students from both sexes. All of them academic professionals, on their way to shift to education.
The course was focusing on the Israeli society, on its components and characteristics, while examining racist elements and phenomenons in its institutions and population. Following very positive feedbacks from participants, the College directors wish to keep on with it for 2 semesters along the next academic year. They were even ready to reduce the sum of our financing. We also started negotiations to expand our involvement in more programs of the College, such as one more course, concerning various inter-ethnic issues in Israeli society and special training program for teachers in charge.

Sociology of Occupation (in cooperation with the Haifa University)
Participants – 22 - 26 Arab and Jewish students from both sexes.
Purpose of the course was to analise and understand the social forces in state of occupation. The Jewish – Arab and Israeli – Palestinian conflicts should be understood in wider context of emerging national consciousness, colonial and post-colonial processes over the world. Different narratives concerning these issues were studied along the course. In addition to above mentioned aspects, economical, cultural, psychological, juridical aspects of occupation were studied also, as well as media and gender contexts.
Head of the Faculty for Sociology expressed his willingness to go on with this course – and our partnership – during two semesters of the next academic year.

2 - Talk Peace – Make Peace (TPMP) ( in cooperation with "Palestinian Institute for Peace & Democracy")

Second cycle of this wonderful project started last January. Like in the former cycle, our Palestinian partner is the "Palestinian Institute for Peace & Democracy", an organization close to Mr. Sari Nusseibeh, President of El Quds University. Within the Project's framework 10 Israeli Jewish and 4 Israeli Arab young politicians and social leaders meet 10 Palestinian young politicians and social leaders, along a series of encounters, in order to cope with emotional aspects of the conflict: fear, hatred, suspect, hostility are inseparable parts of every conflict. Unfortunately these factors are usually neglected in efforts to develop dialogue between rivals – in our "Talk Peace – Make Peace" project coping with these factors is emphasized. In a series of meetings, longer ones in Turkey and Cyprus, short ones ( one day long) in A-Ram Palestinian town, most aspects of the Israeli – Palestinian conflicts were discussed in well structured workshops, run by Jewish and Palestinian facilitators, experts in conflict groups' encounters. Although some lectures were heard too, emotional aspects were emphasized on both, individual and group level.
As an integral part of the process, short single-identity sessions were hold between each bi-national encounter, in which each side discussed over questions and problems arouse in previous encounters.
Sessions of the Project were hold once in a month.

Most Palestinian participants in this course belonged to the Fatah party. Israeli participants were activists of the Labour, Kadima (Centre – Right) and Likud (Right). It has to be announced, that most participants of present group joined the Project following warm recommendations of the first cycle's participants. Because of sharp increase in violence between Israel on one side and Lebanon and the Palestinian people on the other side, activities of the Project were suspended in July - August. They were renewed, when political situation calmed down.

3 - Young Leaders Talk Peace – Make Peace (YLTPMP) (in cooperation with the Palestinian Scout Movement)

Participants: 12 Palestinian Scout Leaders, 10 Israeli Jewish Youth Organizations' leaders and 4 Israel Arab Youth Organizations' leaders.

This project is actually an extension of TPMP: framework and methods are alike, however participants from both side are Youth Organizations leaders and activists. In this Project our Palestinian partner is the Palestinian Scout Movement. From the Israeli side leaders, coming from several youth organizations are taking part in encounters. This project started last June, by a 4 day long encounter in Turkey.

Because of sharp increase in violence between Israel on one side and Lebanon and the Palestinian people on the other side, continuity of this Project too was suspended for the several months. It was renewed in October, when political situation was calmed down. One more session of long weekend in Turkey was hold, followed by two one day long encounters.

Although the work with youth organizations' activists turned out to be more problematic than with young politicians (on more than one level), we gained an important benefit out of it: one of the Israeli participating organization, the "Hashomer Hatzair" youth movement's representatives turned to us to facilitate their attempt to help the "Arab Youth Movement" in Israel, that actually dissolved, to rebuild itself. The suggestion was discussed over by our staff and the Executive Board. Both bodies applied positively to the suggestion. As for now, we are in a state of negotiations with "Hashomer Hatzair", concerning this important project and our role in it.

4 - Nemashim (Youth Play Peace)  (in cooperation with the Newe Yosef Social Centre)

This is the second year of this beatiful Project. Three out of the first year's 5 volunteers decided to keep on volunteering in the same neighborhoods for an additional year. Lacking necessary funds, their second year of volunteering is within the framework of Newe Yosef Social Centre.
The group of this year include 6 young volunteers, 3 Jews, 2 Arabs and one German, age 18 – 19. They share apartment in Halissa low-income neighborhood of Haifa, in purpose to build connections between local community and nearby Jewish community of Newe Yosefneighborhood. The group (nicknamed "the Kommuna" – as they share apartment, activity and income) started a year of volunteering in August 2006. They will finish this period of volunteering next August, when a fresh group is going to replace them. This group is under process of preparation, to be ready to fulfill their difficult but important and exciting role.

Work of the volunteers is mostly through art and drama circles of children, youth and adult women. These circles include theatre, street theatre, music, belly dance, video, photography.
In addition to work as volunteers, members of the group work also 2 days a week, to earn money for participation in their maintenance.

In addition to work with local children and youth, the Kommuna members also produced a multi-lingual play for children which was performed by them about 10 times over Haifa and the North. Second play (out of the three planned) will be performed from beginning of April.

As can be seen from this short report, our activity is spread on three fields: 
1 – Inter-cultural local activity, in which – in addition to benefits to population of Jewish and Arab low-income neighborhoods in Haifa – young activists are prepared for our Organization.
2 – Young multi-cultural, educational leadership preparation inside Israel, who will be able to use as agents for change of values toward more tolerance and equality in our society.
3 – Trust building and connections creating between Israeli and Palestinian future leaders.

In the future we mean to spread our activity to more fields, such as renewal of international seminars for European and Mediterranean NGO activists, working on inter-ethnic encounters, involving additional groups of future leaders, such as University student activists, young journalists, etc. All this will be possible, if we will succeed in finding additional financial sources, to fund all this. Prospects are almost unlimited – our means to realise them are unfortunately very limited.

Amuta – Non Profit Organization - report

In general assembly of our Organization, a new Executive Board, as well as Overseeing Committee was elected.
Our Executive Board members are:
Mr. Kamal Agbariye ( Chairman)
Dr. Abed el Salam Azim
Prof. Dan Jacobson
Ms. Irit Sharon
Mrs. Yael Ben Shahar

Overseeing Committee:
Lawyer Mr. Saleh Abu Riash
Accountant Mr. Muhamad Mansour

Thanks to our generous donors that their help and support, made our work possible.

Caritas Switzerland
Humanitarian Trust                  (U.K.)
Bancroft Clark Charitable         (U.K.)
Bloch Fdn.                             (Switzerland)
Eisen Pickard Fdn.                 (Switzerland)
Danielle Mitterrand Fdn.          (France)
Inheritence Fund of Israel
Ms. Diana Evelina Ottolenghi   (Italy)
Ms.Sarah Gomel                     (Italy)
Ms. Joy Humpreys                  (U.K.)
Caritas Italiana
Networking for Peace              (Canada)
British Embassy in Israel
Amberstone Fund                   (UK)
Kibbutz Maabarot                   (Israel)
Secours Catholique                (France)
CCFD                                    (France)
Umverteilen !                          (Germany)
DIPG                                     (Germany)

Detailed report or any other description of projects can be received on request from Jonatan Peled (General Director) e-mail:, phone: 00972-542-620521
                                                                                                                               1 March, 2007