Hand in Hand Continues to Respond to Ongoing Violence (continual updates)

In such difficult times, when the voices of hatred and escalating violence are dominating public discourse,  Hand in Hand is calling for a different civil response.  Our activity, some of which is detailed below, strengthens the existing social forces which continue to maintain strong relations between Jews and Arabs.  Our voice calls for the parties to promote solutions through dialogue, inclusion and equality.  Our efforts are bringing together thousands in solidarity.  Our growing network of integrated schools and shared communities is proof that there is a viable alternative to hatred and violence.

August 15th, 2014 Human chain #7!  Hand in Hand "Bridge Over the Valley" community members stood on the main Wadi Ara road, for the 6th week in row, holding signs saying: NEIGHBORS for PEACE


August 10th, 2014 The Hand in Hand community in Wadi Ara continued its campaign for the sixth week, standing together under the banner “Neighbors for Peace" in front of thousands of cars driving by one of Israel's busiest roads.


August 10th, 2014 Jewish and Arab members of Hand in Hand's Jerusalem community marched together for the sixth time this summer along the Train Track Park in Jerusalem, holding signs syaing we refuse to be enemies.


August 3rd, 2014 It was the fifth time that Hand in Hand Jewish and Arab community members march together this summer along the Train Track Park in Jerusalem, a walking path that bisects the southern section of the city and runs through both Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. 

“We needed something that sends out the message of living together, and that the future of Jews and Arabs is in the same place. Our message is mostly that we are living together, whether we want it or not.”

- Efrat Meyer, HIH's Jerusalem Community Organizer and art teacher

Read more in this Times of Israel article by Jessica Steinberg

August 1st, 2014 Human chain number five!  Hundreds gather in Wadi Ara to create a human chain on a major highway, with signs that read "Neighbors in Peace"










August 1st, 2014 A fourth gathering in Jaffa - Jews and Arabs gather on a main street to stand up against violence.

Sign: "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies"











July 27th, 2014 "Death to Arabs" was scrawled twice on the entrance to the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School on Sunday night. We immediately responded. The mayor dropped what he was doing to make sure that the vandalism would be erased by the morning when the children would come into camp. Read more.

The principals of the school, Nadia Kennan and Arik Sporta, said: "This is very worrisome and hurtful, but it does not frighten us. Our school will continue to educate towards love of our fellow human beings, mutual listening and true cooperation between Jews and Arabs."









July 25th, 2014 "Lets grow up together" The Jaffa community goes out to the streets for the third time to raise their voices against violence for the third week.











July 25th, 2014 The Galilee community joins Jaffa and Wadi Ara for their first gathering, standing for shared living. "In Gaza and in Sderot little girls want to live."









July 25th, 2014 Residents in Wadi Ara create a human chain for the fourth time on a main highway near Kafr Qara. "Neighbors in Peace"










July 23rd, 2014  A fourth march in Jerusalem, with growing numbers and support. Some 200 people gathered to "March Together", and show that there is another way. 

"In these days, when all hope for sanity seems lost, the Hand in Hand community is a beacon of light, sharp and clear, that allows me to breath and not give up on the hope for a normal life for all of the human beings in the land. It is empowering to see that the circle is expanding. That more and more people refuse to be enemies."

-Ronit Rosenthal, veteran parent and co-chair of the Parent's Committee at the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School



David Broza, a beloved and well-known Israeli singer joined our march this week.





July 21st, 2014  A glimpse into the Wadi Ara day camp.

"Outside there is bloodshed, the angel of death is hovering. But inside, six year old children succeed in showing us another way... They show me that reality can be different. The way that I imagine it could be. 

- Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, mother at the Wadi Ara School










July 20th, 2014  Some 150 Jews and Arabs gather in Jerusalem for the third march of it's kind. Activists wrote: "This is not a demonstration but rather a family march, with no signs or flags. Walking together in public is our statement. Public space belongs to all of us. We must overcome our fears and walk together." 









July 18th, 2014 Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies! 

At the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School, the students made a huge sign that thousands of people see in Jerusalem every day: "We refuse to be enemies." Jerusalem Yediot, a local newspaper, amplified our message: 










July 18th, 2014  Hundreds gather in Wadi Ara for the third time to stand for shared living, holding signs that say "Neighbors in Peace" in Hebrew and Arabic. 









July 18th, 2014  PRI featured Project Harmony, the Jewish-Arab English language day camp in the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School.  

"The recent violence between Israelis and Palestinians has been particularly tough on children... But at one summer camp in Jerusalem, 100 Jewish and Arab children are trying to stay connected. Listen








July 18th, 2014  Some 150 people gathered in Jaffa to protest violence and to call for shared living. 










July 17th, 2014  Last week the HIH organization staff, school principals and community organizers met for an Iftar feast and shared text study in the school year in Wadi Ara.

Jewad Boulus, Hand in Hand's Board Co-Chair, said:  "It is precisely when such days of darkness envelope us in every place, that the voice of Hand in Hand needs to stand out and draw to us those who are sane.  It is a human instinct to choose life."









July 16th, 2014  The Jerusalem community gathers again, all wearing shirts that say "Marching together" in Hebrew and Arabic. 

"We must continue to walk together! These marches are the main source of hope I have in these dark days." 

-Dorit, mother at the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School. 









July 13th, 2014  "We refuse to be enemies." Some 200 children and community members march together in Jerusalem. Community activists said: "This is not a protest, it is a family march, without signs or flags. Jews and Arabs marching together through public space. That is our message." 


July 11th, 2014  Human Chain in Wadi Ara (take 2) - Around 500 Jewish and Arab residents created a human chain along a major highway in Wadi Ara where there has been violence in the last few weeks. They held signs saying "Neighbors in Peace." (Hebrew-Arabic video - English subtitles in process)


July 11th, 2014  Hand in Hand catches the eye of the media - An article about the Hand in Hand Jerusalem community came out in a local Jerusalem paper, Yediyot Jerusalem

“A few days after the murder [of the three Israeli students and a Palestinian teenager], the parents in the Hand in Hand Bilingual School decided to talk about the situation. ‘it was moving to see my daughter Amal hugging her Jewish friend from class.’ Said Hattem Mattar, co-chair of the parents committee, and father of two students in the school. Is the project successful? ‘Yes, but only because we insist on talking about everything and not sweeping the reality under the rug.’” 









July 11th, 2014  "Marching Hand in Hand Against Racism and Violence" - Hundreds of Jaffa community members gathered to protest racism, incitement and violence on a main street in Jaffa. 


July 9th, 2014  Amidst growing violence, 250 Galilee community members gathered for an Iftar feast in the school yard. “We invite local residents to amplify their voices of cooperation and hope”, said Itay Diner, the new principal of the Galilee school, and Kamal Abu Younis, the departing principal. They finished their words with a quote from a poem by Mahmoud Darwish: “On this land we have what makes life is worth living”.


July 7th, 2014  Dozens of Jewish and Arab residents in Wadi Ara created a human chain, taking a stand as neighbors united against racism and hatred.


July 6th, 2014  Community members in Jerusalem met to talk about the steps they can take to challenge the last wave of violence.


July 2nd, 2014 In the aftermath of the murders of three Jewish boys and one Palestinian boy, Paz Cohen, a parent at Hand in Hand and the Chair of the Jerusalem Municipal Parents’ Association, helped build cooperation between East and West Jerusalem parents. They made this statement:

"We must stop the cycle of violence. Every child in Jerusalem and in every place needs to feel safe, no matter their religion or nationality. We call on all sides to leave the law in the hands of the law enforcement, and expect law enforcement bodies to deal with violence, or anything that threatens the safety of our children. We call on all people of influence to raise their voices in calming the youth and teaching them to act with restraint. The Parents' Association is committing to continue to act together to further education and the safety of the children of Jerusalem, and educate towards tolerance and preventing violence. We wish the children of Jerusalem a safe and happy summer vacation, and a Ramadan Kareem."


Hand in Hand is able to bring Arabs and Jews together even in times of crisis, because we bring them together every single day in our schools and communities. We do not do this alone. We cannot do this alone.

We thank USAID and the Jerusalem Foundation for their ongoing support of Hand in Hand's Shared Communities program, which enables all the important activities outlined on this page, and many more. We also thank the Jerusalem Foundation for their support of the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Bilingual School, which hosts many of the these community activities.

Help our network grow. Share our work with others. Support us.

It is the only way we can continue to bring this viable alternative to thousands more people who want to live together.


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