Ramadan Shared Society Initiatives Continue to Grow

Ramadan Shared Society Initiatives Continue to Grow

June 18, 2018

For Muslims across the globe, including the 1.5 million Muslim citizens of Israel, observance of the holy month of Ramadan began this year on May 16th and culminated with the celebration of Eid al-Fitir on June 15th. Ramadan marks a special period of reflection, prayer, charity, and family gatherings for the community. This year, building and expanding their on previous years, civil society organizations and government officials used this time as an opportunity to enhance shared society and Jewish-Arab relations in Israel, fostering deeper understanding and neighborly relations. A number of major activities included:

Ramadan Nights Tours: Over the past month, numerous Ramadan tours were organized, bringing hundreds of Jewish visitors to Arab localities in an effort to combine cultural tourism and personal interaction. Shared Tourism (Drachim Shluvot), founded by Sikkuy, organized tours in eight different Arab towns (i.e. Taibeh, Um El Fahem and Shefar'am) with over 1,200 participants, including a collaborative tour with Collective Impact Initiative that included senior executives from Ossem, Coca-Cola, and Straus. Sikkuy lauded this as "an important step, which points to a significant trend – responsibility and commitment on the part of business bodies to build our joint shared future". In addition, Desert Magic, an initiative between the Ministry of Negev and Galilee and the Negev Development Authority, partnered and led four events in partnership with the Rahat Municipality, Negev Era Industrial Park and the Rahat Community Center. 

Representation in Hebrew language media: In an effort to expand awareness among citizens of Israel, a number of key Hebrew language outlets increased coverage of the month of Ramadan. Yediot Ahronot, one of Israel's most read papers, dedicated a page to wish Muslims Ramadan Kareem (generous Ramadan) in Hebrew and Arabic and a number of media outlets, who have been working with The Abraham Fund Initiatives (TAFI) over the last few years to increase inclusion, broadcasted the beginning and end times of the daily fast. TAFI also organized a special Ramadan Tour for journalists from Ynet News, Yedioth Ahronoth and Calcalist to Kfar Kassem which included a meeting with Mayor Adel Badir.

Special events, festivals and Iftar dinners: Various civil society organizations brought together supporters, friends, and colleagues for traditional Iftar dinners, the evening meal that breaks the daily fast. Among these organizations were, The Abraham Fund Initiatives which held a special Iftar event for over 50 teachers and principals from their Ivrit B'Salam program (Jewish educators teaching Hebrew in Arab schools); The Jewish-Arab Community Center in Lod held an Iftar event for hundreds of city residents, supporters and civil society representatives; and in what was marked as the largest Ramadan event in Israel, the Negev Era Industrial Park near Rahat held a Ramadan Peace Festivalwhich brought together over 1,000 participants, including Jewish and Muslim employees of the SodaStream factory, their families and friends, representatives of neighboring Jewish and Arab municipalities and ambassadors from various countries where SodaStream operates. Famous musician Daniel Barenboim, the International Chair of SodaStream spoke of the need for politicians from all sides to promote peace and President Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin sent a video message. The event ended with participants flying hundreds of kites constructed by the children of SodaStream employees, Muslims and Jews, "to return kites to their normal setting, that of a child's toy".

TAFI Campaign against toy guns and fireworks at Eid al-Fitir: The Abraham Fund Initiatives introduced a first-of-its-kind campaign in Arab society against the use of toy guns and fireworks during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitir under the hashtag #HappyandSafeRamadan. Distributing 20,000 stickers with the message "Dad, this holiday I don't want a toy gun or fireworks" to Arab towns as part of the campaign against the popular and violent toys that have caused many injuries.       

President and PM Ramadan initiatives: At the end of May, President Rivlin hosted the traditional Iftar Dinner at his residence, the largest ever since that tradition began. Rivlin stressed the importance of Jewish-Arab relations for the well-being of the entire country, while relating to recent events in Haifa, he also criticized extreme voices "from both Jewish and Arab MKs" who undermine the Israeli police. Rivlin also spoke about the "plague" of violence in Arab localities, stressing that while it is police responsibility to "do all it can", there is a real need for partnership from the Arab leadership. PM Netanyahu issued a special holiday greeting in English saying "around 1.5 million Muslims live in Israel and I am proud of the role they play in our society". Additionally, the first-ever Iftar dinner was hosted at the PM's office and organized by Kulanu MK Michael Oren.

More Stories

The American Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest NJ, a Task Force member, expressed in a press release  ...
More than 700 people raised NIS 300,000 for the Sindian Center of Beit Issie Shapiro, a leading Israeli organizatio ...