For more than 25 years, the principal goal of the Foundation's philanthropy in Israel has been building a shared society that welcomes the full and equal participation of both Jewish and Arab citizens. The Declaration of Establishment of the State of Israel declares: "THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations."
In choosing this focus, the Foundation was guided by a key 2003 report of the Government of Israel: "The Arab sector: The committee determined that this is the most sensitive and important domestic issue facing Israel today. As such, it requires the personal involvement and leadership of the prime minister. The committee determined that the issue has been neglected for many years, and demanded that immediate, medium term, and long-term action be taken. The committee determined that action must be focused on giving true equality to the country's Arab citizens. Israel's Arab citizens have the right to equality because of the essence of the State of Israel as a democracy, and because it is a basic right of every citizen. The state must work to wipe out the stain of discrimination against its Arab citizens, in its various forms and expressions" (The Official Summation of the Or Commission Report, English Translation Published by Haaretz, September 2, 2003).
Within the overall context of building shared society, the Foundation primarily focuses on the development of integrated, bilingual public education for Jewish and Arab children in Israel. The Foundation believes that this emphasis is essential to address the root cause of the continuing divisions between the diverse communities that comprise Israeli society. The fundamental role of education has been recognized both by the Government of Israel and by respected academic experts: "the fact that Israel has separate education systems is the primary catalyst for rooted prejudice to the 'other' ... and a central cause of hostility between different population groups and . . . societal fragmentation" (Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer, Israel Democracy Institute, 2016); "Separation from the age of preschool through to the end of Grade 12 prevents the groups from getting acquainted with each other and strengthens the social alienation and suspicions toward the other or those that are different ... it is difficult to exaggerate the importance of education and its pivotal position in the education system in eradicating hatred and racism" ("Education for a Shared Society and Prevention of Racism," State Comptroller Report, 2016).
The Foundation's most important single grantee in the effort to address the education system's barriers to creating shared society is Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel. With nearly 2000 students in 6 locations across Israel, and significant growth continuing each year, Hand in Hand has developed a successful organizational and pedagogical model with the potential for nationwide implementation and impact. As stated by a leading Israeli newspaper: "The educational model developed by Hand in Hand screams for much greater support.... Now is the time to replicate it throughout the country...." ("A Worthy Response To Racist Pyromaniacs," Haaretz, December 2, 2014).
The Foundation also provides funding to other organizations that support the goal of expanding opportunities for integrated bilingual education, both directly and indirectly. For example, the Foundation supports two other organizations that currently operate integrated bilingual schools: Hagar Association: Jewish-Arab Education for Equality and Wahat al-Salam — Neve Shalom as well as other civil society organizations that work to build shared society in Israel.
See below for current Shared Society in Israel grantees.
The Abraham Fund Initiatives works to advance coexistence, equality and cooperation among Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens by creating and operating large-scale initiatives, cultivating strategic grassroots projects and conducting public education and advocacy that promote its vision of shared citizenship and opportunity for all of Israel’s citizens.
The Alliance for Middle East Peace is a coalition of non-governmental organizations that promote people-to-people coexistence and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, Arabs and Jews in the Middle East.
APN's mission is to educate and persuade the American public and its leadership to support and adopt policies that will lead to comprehensive, durable, Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace, based on a two-state solution, guaranteeing both peoples security, and consistent with U.S. national interests.
The Center for Educational Technology (CET) is an NGO dedicated to the advancement of the education in the 21st Century.
Educating for Excellence strives to strengthen Israeli society by reducing social gaps and creating equal opportunities for children with potential for excellence who reside within Israel’s social and geographic periphery.
Givat Haviva Center for Shared Society works to empower the Arab minority as a key to creating a more peaceful and tolerant society and brings Arab and Jewish youth together for co-existence programs.
HAGAR: Jewish-Arab Education for Equality is a spring-board for social change through its bilingual, multicultural school and community programming. Hagar advances relationships between Arabs and Jews for children who study and learn together and parents who seek to optimize their children’s educational opportunity and to create a peaceful future.
Hand in Hand operates six integrated, bilingual, multicultural Jewish-Arab schools for Jewish, Muslim and Christian children in grades pre-K through high school, with the vision of creating a new model of integrated education.
INJAZ advances institutional structures and platforms that can effectively define and express the interests of the Arab municipalities in Israel.
Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues works to inform the American Jewish community on majority/minority relations in Israel and increase awareness of economic, educational and social service weaknesses facing Israeli Arab communities.
The Israel Religious Action Center strives to advance religious freedom and pluralism, tolerance, social justice and civil liberties in Israel.
J Street was founded to promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically. It supports a new direction for American policy in the Middle East and a broad public and policy debate about the U.S. role in the region.
The Foundation and the Federation support Shonim B’yachad, an educational and artistic program in which children create creative pieces of artwork centered on the topic of accepting the other, equality, and tolerance.
Neve Shalom Wahat al-Salam's Primary School is a pioneering educational system that provides bilingual and multicultural schooling to children from WAS-NS and the surrounding area.
New Israel Fund is the leading organization committed to equality and democracy for all Israelis.
Peace by Tourism
The Foundation supports scholarships for Arab students to attend a culinary school for Arab and Jewish students in Haifa.
PeacePlayers International engenders meaningful interaction between Arab and Jewish children in Israel and the West Bank through joint basketball activities and life skills sessions which take place regularly throughout the entire school year.
The Q-Schools: Educational Startups is dedicated to empowering Arab Israeli children and youth with the knowledge, skills, and networks that will enable them to become productive members of their community and the larger Israeli society. Q-Schools proposes a model of transformative educational system that is a platform for promoting the values of democracy, open-mindedness, active partnership and citizenship, and communal leadership among Arab children and youth.
Sikkuy is a Jewish-Arab advocacy organization dedicated to advancing Civic Equality between Jewish and Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel.
The Social Venture Fund for Jewish-Arab Equality and Shared Society works to leverage the collective resources of members and stakeholders by funding initiatives in Israel that: build mutual respect and understanding between Jewish and Arab citizens; increase opportunities for Israel’s Arab citizens to share equally in the social, educational, and economic life of the country; and promote structural and institutional reforms that support the vision of Israel as a shared society that benefits all of its citizens.
Tag Meir resolves to connect different groups in Israeli society in the battle to eradicate racism and violence in Israel.
The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel provides the country’s top policy makers and the general public with a professional, “big picture” perspective, as well as policy options, in the economic and social spheres.
Yesh Din is an all volunteer organization that works to bring about meaningful change and concrete improvement in the human rights situation and law enforcement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.