The ongoing Israel-Arab conflict, whether during times of flare-up or low burn, is sustained by the persistent animosity between Arabs and Jews. Educational Road Map for a Shared Society aims to reduce hostility by creating an across-the-board program of teacher trainings to instil values of shared society and build capacity to change the prevalent discourse in schools and classrooms. The project activities encompass a broad approach of trainings for teachers, combined with provision of platforms and support for these teachers to implement their skills and attitudes with their students.
Taken together, these activities create a comprehensive basis for a strategy to shift public discourse, first in education and eventually in the wider sphere, away from current standards of suspicion to foster a sense of shared destiny and social solidarity between Jews and Arabs in Israel.
During 2016 and 2017, Givat Haviva embarked on an ambitious project supported by the European Union: to develop a comprehensive program of practical, implementable steps to move the reality in Israel in the direction of a shared society for Jews and Arabs. Five areas of concentration were designated: Education, Economic Development, Governance and Government, Land Use, and Restorative Processes and Cultural Representation. Five teams of 70 experts in all, from academia, civil society, government, and the private sector, worked for nine months to create documents detailing their recommendations in each of the areas. A vast public engagement effort gathered feedback on the recommendations from over 20,000 Jewish and Arab citizens, to determine which of them are viewed as most palatable, and which most important. Following this, the documents were reviewed and revised accordingly by the teams of experts and fashioned into a single Roadmap for a Shared Society document, incorporating a Shared Society Index with timetables for short and long term implementation for measures in each of the areas. The project culminated in the presentation of the document in a conference at the Knesset in December 2017, sponsored by the Knesset Caucus for the Advancement of Shared Living between Jews and Arabs. The conference was well attended by MKs, and the caucus responded very positively to the final paper, deciding to adopt it as a basis for their efforts.
Among the five areas considered, education was seen by the largest proportion of the public as the most actionable arena to dismantle the distrust between the populations and move Israel toward a shared society. This proposal is based on the recommendations of the Roadmap’s professional working group focusing on the topic of Education, which was led by former Minister of Education Yuli Tamir and Ali Watad, head of the Arab Academic Institute for Education and member of the Ministry of Education's specialization and entry to teaching department.