A letter from our Executive Director

Dear Friends,

The year of activity has begun at Givat Haviva, and the campus is full of students, teachers, staff, people learning spoken Arabic, and visitors to the Art Gallery. Givat Haviva International School (GHIS) began its fourth year by adding tenth grade, expanding its vibrant Jewish, Arab, and international community and becoming a full three-year high school.

After almost two years in the shadow of Covid restrictions, with irregular and mostly online activity, we are finally able to resume educational and cultural activities together, face to face. The past year was also a difficult and challenging one for Jewish-Arab relations in Israel, with the events of May and the war in Gaza, but in response we are seeing an impressive increase in schools' interest in our shared education programs, bi-national encounters, and seminars. After two years of political uncertainty and no clear government budget, now that a new state budget and new government plans for the advancement of Arab society finally have been approved, we hope to work in the Knesset and the government to increase its support for shared society education and programs advancing equality for Israel’s Arab citizens.

The crisis of violence in Arab society, which has crossed every limit and finally reached the hearts of the Israeli public, is pushing the Israeli government to take action. At Givat Haviva, we are putting together educational programs on violence and the culture of mediation, and cooperating with government ministries that consult with us as part of the overall program for dealing with the violence.

2022 could be a turning point in Jewish-Arab relations in Israel, precisely from the depths we reached as a society in 2021. The spirit of political and social change, the fact that for the first time an Arab party is part of the government coalition, and the reality that Israeli society has for the most part managed to overcome May’s events and return to working and living together in shared space, all give us hope to continue the vast work we still have to build an egalitarian, just and safer society for all of us.

Michal Sella

Executive Director