Hand in Hand is building inclusion and equality between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel through a growing network of bilingual, integrated schools and communities. Launched in 1997 with 50 children, there are now over 2,000 students enrolled in six Hand in Hand schools from Jerusalem to the Galilee. Hand in Hand was established to combat one of Israel’s greatest existential threats: the growing social alienation and lack of trust between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. We believe that education is key in changing this.
Hand in Hand schools are public schools, recognized and overseen by the Israeli Ministry of Education, and open to all parts of the Arab and Jewish populations in Israel. This government funding is supplemented by philanthropy and parents’ fees, which enable our specialized bilingual, multicultural curriculum and community activities.
We are trailblazers in the field of shared education and living, fostering a new generation of Arabs and Jews equipped to live side by side, as partners and peers. The curricula in Hand in Hand’s schools are based on values that reflect both cultures and languages, oriented in multiculturalism and shared and equal citizenship. In our bilingual educational model, Hebrew and Arabic have equal status, as do both cultures and national narratives.
Our thousands-strong adult community members come together year-round in celebration, solidarity, and dialogue. These community activities are geared towards parents, staff, and other active citizens who are interested in taking part in a shared community. We believe it is not apt to place the burden of creating a shared future on the shoulders of our children. We, the adults, must lead the way. These community activities are an inseparable part of our work towards building a shared society.
In the 2022-23 school year, our network includes six schools and communities: Jerusalem, the Galilee, Wadi Ara, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, and Kfar Saba, serving over 2,000 students. There are 3,000 active adult community members, who impact over 10,000 Jewish and Arab citizens. And we are growing. With hundreds of students on waiting lists this year, and new communities forming across the country, Hand in Hand continues to prove that shared living is possible, it is real, and it is happening throughout Israel right now.