Hand in Hand's 2023 Donor Mission — Transforming Crises into Opportunities for Growth
This past week, Hand in Hand hosted a delegation of our core donors and supporters. The mission trip began with a visit to the Knesset, where delegation members met Members of Knesset Gilad Kariv and Ayman Odeh, two members of the previous government who have long supported Hand in Hand’s work, and have advanced the standardization of integrated education in the Knesset.
“The issue of shared society is one of the most important bases for Israel’s democracy, and we need to invest in cultivating it,” MK Kariv remarked. “We live in two separate worlds, and these schools are among the few arenas where Jews and Arabs create a culture of understanding and shared society by choice.
We need more and more laboratories that will try to create this miracle of two communities deeply committed to their narratives and past, and at the same time fully committed to creating a shared civil field which embraces both fully.
And, we need to find brave Israelis and brave philanthropists to achieve the task of opening new schools, which model how Jews and Palestinians can live together.”
“We need to find brave Israelis and brave philanthropists to achieve the task of opening new schools, which model how Jews and Palestinians can live together.” — MK Gilad Kariv
Earlier in the day, the delegation also visited the Max Rayne Jerusalem School, where they got to meet with Principal of the elementary school Johaina Dakwar-Salim, and Vice Principal of the high school Engi Wattad. The group also attended the school choir’s performance of the song “Imagine,” and engaged in a conversation with participants of Hand in Hand’s University Student Community program.
Visit to Israel’s North
On their second day, the delegation drove up to Hand in Hand’s Galilee school, where they enjoyed a school tour led by two students, and later held a discussion with Principal Manar Hayadre and a number of teachers. Rutie, a homeroom teacher, told the delegation: “I grew up on a kibbutz knowing nothing about my neighbors. 21 years ago, I came to the Galilee school and it was a revolution in my life. I feel that only half of me existed until then. Now with this second half, I feel complete.”
Rutie also shared that Principal Manar encourages them not only to be the best school in Israel, but the best school in the world. Manar’s approach seems to be working, as the Galilee school has received multiple awards for its educational excellence over the past few years.
That evening, the delegation attended a dinner with a number of Hand in Hand Haifa community parents and leaders, and had a chance to speak with Director of Hand in Hand’s Communities Department, Shada Mansour. “Our goal is to promote shared living and understanding, where people from different backgrounds can live and work together in harmony,” Mansour shared with the delegation.
“One of the ways that we tackle this is by holding dialogue sessions for each group. By doing so, we can build trust and understanding, and begin to find common ground… The fact that we manage to sit down and talk despite our differences is impressive in itself, but it is made possible mainly because of the trust we have with each other as groups and as individuals, something that the two societies lack. This is inspiring and special.”
“The fact that we manage to sit down and talk despite our differences is impressive in itself, but it is made possible mainly because of the trust we have with each other as groups and as individuals, something that the two societies lack. This is inspiring and special.” — Shada Mansour, Director of Hand in Hand’s Communities Department
On their final day, the group visited the Kfar Saba school, where they met with Principal Mohammad Kundos, toured the school, and spoke with students. “Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ We tell our students that we are that change we all want to see on the outside,” Princpal Kundos shared with the delegation. “Our work is making a social and political change, and we are already inside that change. It is already happening.”
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