Promoting a Shared Society

Building a society of inclusion, equality, and justice for all of Israel’s citizens is a moral imperative. 

Over the past two decades, dramatic changes in Israel’s social landscape have forced the question "who is an Israeli?" The answer is more complex than the promotion of coexistence. The imperative is to advance the concept of a shared society, one in which all of the many groups – new olim from Russia and Ethiopia, Arabs, Mizrahim, Ashkenazim, Haredim, the secular, and others – feel a sense of ownership. To achieve this, we facilitate dialogue and joint-action programs that tackle root causes of conflict, alleviate tensions, and develop solutions.  

We support programs and initiatives that bridge the gaps – be they social, cultural, geographic, or political. 

The Federation currently supports eleven programs that are committed to educating and promoting shared values and strengthening civil society:

The Abraham Fund: Israeli College Campuses as a Platform for Shared Society

For many Israeli adults, Jews and Arabs alike, the only common space found today is on campus. While the word "university" comes from the root "universalism," the reality on Israeli campuses is of separated communities and of an increasing number of violent clashes. Through research with students and faculty, the Abraham Fund will develop a cohesive plan for building a shared society model within the campus environment to be replicated at other Israeli college campuses.

Hagar: Jewish-Arab Bilingual Kindergarten and School in Be'er Sheva

In 2006, a group of Be'er-Sheva parents, academics, and community activists in Be'er Sheva and its environs founded the Hagar Association. It was a response to the present reality in the Negev, where about 600,000 citizens, a quarter of them Arabs, live side by side but in segregated spaces. Up until 2007, there was not one educational or social framework in the Negev in which Jewish and Arab children could meet and engage in meaningful activity together. The Hagar founders believe that creating such a shared bilingual educational framework can promote knowledge and understanding of one another’s heritage, religion, and customs, and thus help to bring about positive change in the region.

The program is a springboard 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 create a peaceful future.

INJAZ: Center for Professional Arab Local Governance

INJAZ is a nonprofit organization that works with local Arab governments in Israel to develop their capacity and bridge gaps in knowledge so that their communities can continue to develop economically, socially, and politically. Through this process, there will be a more open discourse between the younger generations of Arab professionals, their neighboring Jewish communities, and government officials on the national level.

Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues

This task force works to educate, communicate with, and engage the North American Jewish community on majority/minority relations in Israel. 

The Jewish Federations of North America: Social Venture Fund for Jewish Arab Equality and Shared Society

The Social Venture Fund brings a diverse coalition of funders together to provide financial and strategic support to high-impact projects that address Jewish-Arab relations and/or seek to meet the social needs of Israeli Arabs, Bedouins, and Druze.

Ma’ase Center Association: Promoting Civil Society Through Socio-Economic Mobility and Shared Civil Discourse

This grant is intended to strengthen civil society in Israel through the promotion of socio-economic mobility of Jewish and Arab young adults and their inclusion in shared civil discourse. The initiative shifts the focus to promoting a civil society that includes marginalized populations in its leadership ranks and brings together shared civil values, common community volunteering experience, social awareness, and the involvement of hundreds of Ma'ase program participants and thousands of program graduates, striving to bring social change to Israel.

Middle East Education Through Technology (MEET): Deeper Understanding Program – Developing the Shared Society Curriculum

MEET believes that the future of the Middle East depends on developing a motivated cadre of young leaders prepared, committed, and equipped to work collectively in order to address pressing socio-economic challenges. This grant will help develop the Deeper Understanding curriculum and action plan that will strengthen and build the capacity of the up-and-coming young Israeli and Palestinian citizens within Israel. The hope is to reach a future of social entrepreneurs who work in bi-national teams to create solutions to pressing needs, based on a win-win shared society approach that benefits both societies.

Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development (NISPED): The Arab-Jewish Volunteer Year Project

The program, a joint effort with the Scouts movement, brings together a cohort of Arab Bedouin and Jewish high school graduates for a year of joint community service. The volunteers are divided into mixed (Jewish-Arab) dyads that work together on a daily basis throughout the school year. Three of these dyads are assigned to each of six Arab Bedouin and six Jewish primary schools, working three days weekly in the former and one day weekly in the latter.

New Spirit: Developing Jerusalem’s Creative Society

This grant will support the development of Jerusalem’s creative society in the hopes of attracting creative young people from all regions and sectors of Israeli society. The Jerusalem New Spirit is striving toward harnessing its young creative forces to build a thriving creative economy, an innovative public space, a unique hub for new independent arts and design creation, and a model for a creative and accountable civil society in which diversity is a source of inspiration rather than conflict. This will empower the young adults to revitalize and dramatically transform Jerusalem.

Ono Academic College: BA in Education and Society, Multicultural Track Scholarship Program

This grant will support scholarships for students studying the BA in Education and Society - Multicultural Track at Ono Academic College. Our goal is to educate teachers and educators and provide them with a multicultural learning experience in which they acquire the knowledge, skills, attitude and experience needed to implement multiculturalism in classrooms and educational settings.

Shaharit Multicultural Fellowship for Community Leaders

This grant is intended to create a state-of-the-art program aimed at nurturing and networking a future leadership for multicultural Israel. The program will recruit individuals who represent the wide diversity of Israeli society and who will work within their communities and together as a growing network. As participants and graduates, they will envision and be leaders in the building of a shared society where each community can flourish.