Hand in Hand Speaks at the Knesset
We are all heartbroken and terrified witnessing the violence and loss around us. It is difficult to comprehend the tragic loss of life, including children, and the fact millions are living with a palpable fear for their lives and families. Especially right now, we are so grateful to have supportive shared communities.
We feel moved to share an update from the ground in Jerusalem.
The Hand in Hand students and community members, beyond being Palestinian and Jewish Jerusalemites, also wear another hat – they are a beacon of light that many look to in dark days. On Monday, after the students created the banner for equality and safety (see post below), Engie Wattad, the Vice Principal of the Max Rayne Hand in Hand High School, and Dani Elazar, Hand in Hand CEO, were invited to speak at a special forum in the Knesset to share how bilingual education can be a pillar for building a shared society. The forum, convened by several members of Knesset and Peace Now, included other Knesset members, civil society activists, and representatives from Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan who are under threat of eviction from their homes.
Engie, a veteran Hand in Hand educator, spoke about how Arab and Jewish teachers work together in such a divided city, and how as an Arab she feels unsafe walking around the streets of Jerusalem. Dani described the importance of establishing shared educational institutions for Arabs and Jews in every mixed city, especially in the current reality that is rooted in a deep separation and fear.
The day ended with a gathering of some 40 school principals and educators from around Jerusalem at our Jerusalem high school. Convened at the same time the “flag march” began in the center of Jerusalem, these forward-thinking educators discussed Jewish-Arab reconciliation, equality, and how shared education can help bring these about.
People in Jerusalem, and everywhere in the country, want and need to believe that cooperation and equality between Arabs and Jews is possible. Our students, parents and community members provide tangible reason to believe. May we all emerge from this crisis wiser, more compassionate and ever more committed to equality and safety for all.