Jewish-Arab Relations in Israel, Bilingual Education and Art...

Jewish-Arab Relations in Israel, Bilingual Education and Art as a Bridge - Luncheon in NY

Jan 25, 2012 12:00am - 2:00pm

Please join the Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues and Israel's top civil society leaders, education innovators and art visionaries for a luncheon on January 25th from 12:00-2:00 pm at JDC offices in New York.

This is a unique opportunity to explore the challenges and opportunities facing Jewish-Arab relations in Israel through the lens of Jewish-Arab shared society initiatives in the Negev, bilingual education and the role of the arts in building mutual respect.

Our esteemed speakers include:
Amal Elsana Alh-hooj and Vivian Silver, Co-Executive Directors of the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development (NISPED),
Shuli Dichter, Executive Director of Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education, and
Said Abu Shakra, artist and founder of the Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery.

The luncheon will be held at JDC offices on Wednesday, January 25th from 12:00-2:00 pm.

Bios have been included below.

Please RSVP to Michal Cohen at [email protected] or (212) 885-0825 to attend.
Location details will be provided upon RSVP. Space is limited.

*** BIOS

Ms. Amal Elsana Alh'ooj Co-Executive Director, the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development (NISPED)

Amal Elsana Alh'jooj, co-executive director of NISPED and founding director of AJEEC, was born in 1972, the fifth of thirteen children. Like many Bedouin children, Amal from age five herded sheep before trekking more than three kilometers to and from school ??a run-down shack without electricity, running water or books. As an adolescent, Amal was already inspired to change the objectionable equilibrium in which she found herself, her family, her tribe, the Bedouin Arabs of the Negev and the Arab minority in Israel. She began her career as a community organizer at 14, and at 17, established the first Arab Bedouin women's organization to improve the situation of Bedouin women in a patriarchal society resisting the changes effected by rapid transition to modernity. Upon completing high school, she earned her BA in social work in Israel and her MA in community development at McGill University in Canada. At Ben-Gurion University she was one of two Bedouin women students and her creativity, strength and call to action were reflected in her activities. She chaired the Arab Students' Union and initiated a project to improve conditions in 22 Bedouin villages. Upon her return from Canada, Amal worked to implement innovative methods of changing the stable but inherently unjust equilibrium characterizing the Palestinian national minority in Israel and the Bedouin of the Negev in particular. In 2000, her path joined with NISPED whose organizational vision and approach to sustainable human development presented Amal with the opportunity to develop a new model to meet pressing challenges. This approach, focused on the human aspects of development and applied to the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel dramatically diverged from existing models. Amal understood that models limited to the development of physical infrastructure are inadequate. A comprehensive transformative process and an emancipatory approach focused on the rebuilding of community confidence are necessary prerequisites for sustainable development. Today, Amal is one of the key shapers of public opinion regarding the status of the Arab minority and the status of women in Israel. She is a member of the Prime Minister?? Commission for Economic Development of the Arab Sector; a member of the Steering Committee of Shutafut-Sharaka; a member of the professional committee of the Employment Creation Division of the JDC. Amal is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. To list a few: in 2010, she was chosen by The Marker as 1 of 101 most influential people in Israel; in 2008, she was a keynote speaker at the Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Institute; that same year, November 7 was proclaimed Amal Elsana Alh'jooj Day in Hartford Connecticut. In 2005 she was a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize within the framework of the "One Thousand Women" submission; in 2003 she won the Lady Globes ??areer Women of the Year??award. Vivian Silver Co-Executive Director, the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development ??NISPED Vivian Silver, Co-Executive Director of the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development ??NISPED is driven by two burning issues ??creating a shared society between Jews and Palestinian Arabs in Israel, based on values of equality and empowerment and feminism. For the past four decades, Vivian has been active in social change work ??first in Canada and then in Israel. Growing up in an observant but liberal home in Winnipeg, early on Vivian became active in the Jewish feminist movement. She moved to Israel in 1974 where she was a founding member of the reestablished Kibbutz Gezer. She was elected the kibbutz's first secretary general and subsequently became Gezer's construction manager. Along the way, Vivian abandoned two convictions she had cherished in the Diaspora ??religion and the conception that the kibbutz practiced equality between men and women. Increasingly disturbed by the widening gap in the treatment of Israel's Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens, Vivian focused her work in this realm. She was the founder and first director of the Department to Advance Gender Equality in the United Kibbutz Movement and a member of the Knesset sub-committee for the Advancement of Women in Work and the Economy. She was a member of the board of directors of the New Israel Fund in the 80?? and a member of the steering committee of Shatil in the 90??. She is a founding member and first Chair of Shutafut-Sharaka, a forum of civil society organizations committed to the advancement of democratic values and the promotion of an equal and shared society for all Israeli citizens, Jews and Arab-Palestinians alike. She is presently Deputy Chair of the Membership Committee of ALLMEP (Alliance for Middle-East Peace) and sits on the Public Advisory Committee of Midot, which evaluates non-profit organizations in Israel. Vivian is a member of Kibbutz Beeri and a founding member of the kibbutz??philanthropic fund which supports grass-roots and social change projects in the Negev. She resides in the kibbutz with her husband, Lewis Zeigen, and their two sons, Chen and Yonatan. Shuli Dichter Executive Director, Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education Shuli Dichter is a long-time civil-society activist in Israel. He joined Hand in Hand as its executive director in January 2011. From 1998 to 2008, Shuli was the co-executive director of Sikkuy, The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, a Jewish-Arab advocacy organization. There he worked to advance equality via government-policy change, municipal cooperation and mobilization of public opinion. His op-ed articles and essays on equality and Arab-Jewish relations are frequently published in Israel and abroad. In 2001, he was invited to give expert testimony before the Or State Commission of Inquiry examining the status of Israel?? Arab citizens following the killing of 13 Arab demonstrators in October 2000. As of 2009, Shuli has been writing and consulting, for the officer of the Israeli prime minister and others, in his fields of expertise. He lives in Kibbutz Ma'anit near the Kfar Kara school and is married to Avital, an art teacher. They have three children. Said Abu Shakra Founder, Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery Said Abu Shakra is an artist, visionary and founder of the Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery, the first contemporary art gallery in the Arab sector in Israel. Mr. Abu Shakra, previously served many years in the Israel police working with disenfranchised youth. He studied art at a variety of institutions include at Beit Berl College, Ramat Hasharon Art College (??amidrasha?? and Avni Art Institute in Tel Aviv. He is now working to turn the gallery into a museum.