A letter from our Executive Director

February 2018


Dear friends, dear partners,


When you read this newsletter, you will become acquainted with the connections that are the exact opposite of the reality in which we live here in Israel.  In our country, there is widespread use of politics of identities to create a policy of "divide and rule".  Every day we experience the poisonous fruits of the effort to preserve the existing situation by spreading fear and hatred of the other, by drawing the shutters and closing the hearts toward the reality, needs, desires and hopes of the "other". We at Givat Haviva believe in equality and partnership as a basis for "life itself," here in our common country, Israel.


That is why I am excited when, together with the "Tag Meir" organization, we hold a joint seminar for teachers, Arabs and religious Jews, two sectors ("tribes" as President Rivlin calls them)  whose connection is extremely rare. That is why I am so proud that our Education Department, together with the Moreshet Heritage House here at Givat Haviva, is leading a training course for the heads of the youth promotion departments on Holocaust remembrance and the Nakba.


Without limitations and without fear, we learn together about the worst disasters and pains of the two peoples living here together.  But in order to build a shared society, our emphasis is on developing the future, which will enable a new and just reality. We do this every day in partnerships between neighbors and in education. Together we will be strong enough to swim against the murky stream that tries to separate us, and together we will change the direction of the current for building a shared and equal society - you will read about all this in this newsletter.



Yaniv Sagee

Executive Director, Givat Haviva

January - February 2018


Dear Partners,

Givat Haviva's theory of change, which seeks to establish a shared society in Israel, is holistic in nature.  It is based on the need to act simultaneously for the equality of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and for the partnership between Jewish and Arab neighbors. To work in parallel on the "roots" and on the "treetops" - that is, to engage in educating the young generation for the sake of coexistence and equality, education that will ensure a different and better future, while at the same time influencing the present, here and now, by working with government ministries and The Roadmap for a Shared Society.

In this newsletter, you can see how this happens in the field. You will see the connection with the Director General of the Ministry of Education and the Ambassador of Mexico; a visit to the Knesset by members of the Bara'em High Tech program, which creates a connection between education, equality and public influence; The shared society education programs working at full steam; the partnership created between neighbors through the "Partnership between Communities" program and the Collaborative Art Center that connects hearts through art. All this happens on a campus that hosts hundreds of Arab and Jewish youth every day in a common space.

This is our way and I am proud to present you with the fruits of the last month.

Yaniv Sagee, Executive Director
Givat Haviva




December 2017


Dear Partners,


Our journey towards the establishment of a shared and equal society reached new heights this week, when we presented to the Israeli Knesset the "Roadmap to a Shared Society" which we have been working on for the past two years.


The Roadmap’s sixty-six pages present a clear and implementable work plan for the steps required by the State of Israel to become a shared society in the areas of economics, education, governance, land, restorative processes and cultural representation.


This is a foundational document, unprecedented in Israel. Milestones for implementation are presented along with the recommendations. Over the past two years, we embarked on a joint Jewish-Arab journey with Israeli society to produce this document. We recruited 70 experts from the two nationalities who developed the recommendations in the five areas. We held 40 public meetings in which we presented the recommendations and received feedback from the public. We presented the recommendations in Arabic on Bokra and in Hebrew on Ynet, and some 150,000 people were exposed to them, with 5,000 of them taking the trouble to convey to us their thoughts on what is important and feasible. 


With this wonderful harvest, we arrived at the Knesset this week for a public conference of the Knesset Advocacy Group for the Advancement of Shared Society between Jews and Arabs, with the participation of 15 MKs who promised their commitment to the program. In preparation for the conference, we conducted a representative national survey with the Midgam Institute (Mano Geva and Mina Tzemach) in which our recommendations were examined. The bottom line: Promoting the road map is feasible, there is great public support for the agenda of the shared society, and there is a significant lobby in the Knesset that intends to adopt the plan and promote it towards legislation and policy of government ministries.


This is a great achievement that carries with it a great commitment, as MK Joseph Jabareen, one of the leaders of the advocacy group, said in his concluding remarks: "I ask you, Givat Haviva, do not leave us alone with this plan, continue with us, push us when we deal with urgent matters, and are not free for the important things you have put before us."


This is what we are going to do, and together with our many wonderful partners in civil society among the associations and organizations that work for shared society, we will, step by step, build a shared and equal Israel.




Yaniv Sagee


Executive Director, Givat Haviva

November 2017

Dear Partners,

Since the month of the High Holidays, our campus has been vibrant with educational activity. Hundreds of students scurry around the lawns and paths every day as the children of Sindyanna, the Arab youth village, join the many participants in our shared life education programs, together with our Arab students from the Bara'em high-tech program, and our many visitors from abroad.

A particularly moving and high-level visit was that of the Minister President of the German state of Rhineland-Pfalz, Ms. Maria Luise Anna "Malu" Dreyer, who came to us with an entourage of ministers and senior officials for a festive visit marking 25 years of partnership and support in Givat Haviva. Read more...

At the beginning of my tenure as Executive Director of Givat Haviva, I was invited to a ceremony held in the Parliament of Rhineland-Pfalz to commemorate the 20 years of the partnership with Givat Haviva. Malu Dreyer, who was then in the first term of office, noted how important and meaningful this partnership was for her. This time, in Givat Haviva, at the end of a visit that included meetings with the Israeli prime minister, the president and the Knesset speaker, just before boarding the plane to take her home, she turned to me and said: "How good it is to end a visit to Israel in Givat Haviva. I am leaving here with hope and pride. Hope, thanks to your tremendous work for peace and a shared society, work that is growing and deepening. And pride for our contribution and our partnership that helps you on your mission."

During the visit we planted an olive tree together on Givat Haviva’s grounds, to commemorate our joint quest for peace, partnership and equality. We promised to bring the first olives produced by the tree to the Parliament of Rhineland-Pfalz.

Yaniv Sagee, Executive Director

Givat Haviva


October 2017

Dear Partners,

Following is our report on another busy month of our many activities at Givat Haviva Center for Shared Society. This month was unique, as in addition to our regular activity we made a significant leap forward in implementing our mission by adopting a new strategy of being a glocal (global and local) organization, running long-term programs on our unique and wonderful campus. This month, after 14 years, the agreement with the outside contractor operating the campus was terminated, and it is once again administered by Givat Haviva. Our plan is to fill the campus with long term and permanent activities, some of them under our exclusive leadership and some with partners who share the goal of building a shared and egalitarian society in Israel.
This month, Givat Haviva opened the first Arab youth village in Israel and in the world. A hundred and eighty students have begun studying at Givat Haviva in a unique high school for value leadership and academic excellence. The village was built in close partnership with the Menashe Regional Council and the Association for the Advancement of Education, which is also the operating body.
At the same time, the Youth Movements Campus was opened at Givat Haviva, led by the Hashomer Hatzair alumni movement. The Campus is home to seminars and camps for all youth movements in Israel - Jews and Arabs, secular and religious, left and right.
These two large projects are joined by the two pre-army programs that are in their second year at Givat Haviva, the Wadi Ara campus of the Open University, the Institute for Arabic Studies for students from Israel and abroad, the Collaborative Art Center, the vocational day center of Alut and the Amitai educators' kibbutz.  All these, together with the longstanding centers of activity at Givat Haviva - the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace, Yad Yaari and Moreshet - create a diverse, vibrant campus for a shared society composed of all parts and tribes of Israel. In addition to this, we are continuing to prepare energetically for two projects that are scheduled to open next year: An international high school for world leadership in co-existence and peace, and an academic center hosting programs from universities around the world.
September 2017 was a major milestone Givat Haviva’s development toward the realization of its mission, and from here we will continue to grow!
Yaniv Sagee, Executive Director
Givat Haviva

September 2017

Dear Friends and Partners,

This week, half a million children in Arab communities in Israel begin their new school year. And we open a new year in our determined quest to address the familiar structural problems in the country’s educational system, foremost among them the unequal budgeting that allots, on average, 27% less funding to an Arab pupil in Israel than to a Jewish pupil in Israel.

In contrast, as an alternative, today at Givat Haviva we mark an historic day: Today is the opening day for Sindyana (Arabic for “evergreen oak”), the Arab Youth Leadership Village, on our campus. This is the first Arab youth village in Israel to be launched as part of realizing our vision to transform the Givat Haviva campus into Israel’s center for a shared egalitarian society. Our partners in this initiative are The Society for the Advancement of Education, the Menashe Regional Council, the Education Ministry’s division of residential education, under the aegis of which the youth village was established, and the talented team under the leadership of Indira Biadsa. This foundational step is just one component in a spectrum of efforts to redress the disparities in Israel’s educational system and ameliorate their broad ramifications, a campaign to which we at Givat Haviva have been devoting our energies for many years.

We are pleased that, having created a unique and diverse response, we are now bringing it to a growing number of communities and thousands of students every year. The teachers of the Yihyeh B’seder program to improve fluency in Hebrew reach dozens of Arab schools in every Ministry of Education district in the country, and the Bara’em High Tech program enables talented young people to receive academic training in computer studies while still in high school. This year we are adding Bara’em Business and Management, a similar program focusing on management. The Etgarim (“Challenges”) program offers a range of extra-curricular art classes and activities for young people in dozens of communities and regional council districts where these kinds of options are generally lacking. The Lev program (the Hebrew acronym, which spells “heart,” stands for “learning together”) promotes active engagement in learning about their shared physical and social environment for hundreds of Arab and Jewish students, on a regional basis.

The various encounter programs and projects of the Art Center bring together thousands of Jewish and Arab young people to learn about and talk with one another, which is crucial for building a shared society. We are continuing to enhance these tools, and to expand them in cooperation with the public and private sectors and with government -- because closing the gaps between the various communities in Israeli society is a precondition for a secure and egalitarian future for us all.

Wishing everyone a flourishing new school year!

Yaniv Sagee

Executive Director, Givat Haviva

August 2017


Dear Partners,
When the heavy heat of summer coincided with the events of the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif, and with the law of nationality widening the political rift

between Jews and Arabs in Israel, friends asked me, "How do you still believe in shared society?" And I replied, “Just come with me to Givat Haviva any day and you’ll understand.”
It turned out that in mid-July I had hosted someone from the United States and this was how his day looked: We began with a tour of the amazing ceramics exhibition at the Art Center. From there we went to see the fifty people who were studying the Arabic language at the Institute. On our way, we passed a summer camp where Ethiopian Israeli children stood out. We continued through the library where there were about 50 young American Jews participating in summer programs. From there we went to the pool and saw how some 100 Arab children were learning to swim. In the computer lab, a group of boys, the vast majority of them Arabs and a few Jews, prepared for the summer exams in computer studies as part of the Bara'em High-Tech program. On our way to my office, we passed the summer camp of the Reform movement, whose participants made sure to conduct the morning prayers under the window of my office for several weeks... This is Givat Haviva, the center for a shared society: Jews and Arabs, secular and religious, pluralistic Judaism, adults and young people, Arabic and Hebrew, art and poetry. Hosting thousands of people every month, a local and global center at the same time.
That is how we build a shared society. This time we are not going to talk about the joint education programs for living together, about the neighboring communities that are building their partnership with our help, about the "Roadmap for a Shared Society", with our recommendations that 90,000 Israelis have already reviewed through the websites of Bokra in Arabic and YNET in Hebrew. But here you will read about some of the activities we chose to highlight this month. No, we do not give up when hot winds threaten to ignite our common home; we just work harder to create a different future for this land that we share.
Yaniv Sagee, Executive Director
Givat Haviva 


July  2017
Dear Partners,
In this month's newsletter, I would like to highlight the Roadmap for a Shared Society, our flagship program for public engagement and changing policy for establishing a shared society in Israel. This is a three-phase program: The first phase consisted of developing Givat Haviva’s recommendations for a government policy that will lead to a shared and equal society in five areas: Economy, Government, Education, Land Use, and Restorative Justice and Cultural Representation. The second phase is sharing these recommendations with the wider public in Israel. This is the phase we are currently at, and so far a great number of people, around 60 thousand, have been exposed to the teams' recommendations through two online news sites: YNET in Hebrew and Bokra in Arabic. We urge you to visit those websites, so that we know what is most important and feasible in your opinion. At this point, we are also holding 40 open public meetings throughout the country, for both Arab and Jewish societies. The third phase will go into effect in November-December, when our final recommendations, following the public feedback, will be presented to policy makers in the Knesset and in the government.
We recently celebrated the end of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr. Here is the special message I sent our Muslim friends and partners:
Our dear Muslim friends and partners: We would like to congratulate you on your holiday of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan.  This is a holy day of forgiveness and peace, family, community, brotherhood and an opportunity to settle conflicts. We hope that these values, associated with this holiday, will be our guiding lights, helping our work and the achievement of our goals, and serve to deepen our cooperation towards building an equal shared society for the benefit of all the citizens of this country.
Wishing you Eid Mubarak,
Yaniv Sagee,
Executive Director Givat Haviva
Givat Haviva marked the month of Ramadan with a traditional Iftar meal at the common dining hall. The meal, on June 8, was part of the day's events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the occupation.
Many guests attended the meal, including the mayors and representatives of the municipalities taking part in the Shared Communities program, participants from the various programs, representatives of peace organizations, members of HaShomer HaTzair and the Agial Youth Movements, and the Givat Haviva team.
Riad Kabha presided over the festive evening that included greetings by Yaniv Sagee, Executive Director of Givat Haviva; The Honorable Kadi Ayad Zahalka, who spoke about Ramadan; Mr. Anwar Kalaf, representative of the Palestinian Authority; MK Yael Cohen-Faran, and other friends. The successful event was beautifully organized by Ella Eisner from the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace.


June 2017

Let me conclude with a call to you: This week we are holding a special day in commemoration of 50 years to the Occupation. On Thursday, June 8, we will march along the Green Line in our region, in order to bring our country's need to end the conflict back into public awareness, based on the two state solution within mutually and internationally recognized and accepted borders. We in Givat Haviva are working towards the existence of a shared, equal society in Israel, and towards the establishment of peace between the two nations. This week, we are calling on you to join us. Come and take part in the march and in the events following it, which will take place at the Givat Haviva campus. Together, we will bring change!
Yaniv Sagee
Executive Director, Givat Haviva