Abdallah Meaare, Israel’s Teacher of the Year, visits the Bay Area

By Michal Kohane, Director of the Israel Center

When an Israeli young man lands at the San Francisco airport, it’s no surprise that another Israeli is there to greet him. But what if the one getting off the plane is a Muslim Arab? Six finalists, out of 4000 candidates, won the prestigious “Israel’s Teacher of the Year” for 2011. They received the sought-after award: a trophy with the competition’s symbol; a trip to the U.S. courtesy of El-Al Israeli airlines; and a special seminar with an American Jewish community education institution, courtesy of the Jewish Agency of Israel.

One of the winning educators was Abdallah Meaare, teacher and vice principal of the Alsalam School in Sakhnin, a largely Muslim Arab village in the heart of the Galilee where he grew up. Abdallah, who earned his Master’s Degree with Excellency in 2005 in the field of Hebrew Literature from the University of Haifa, and was accredited as a teacher in both Hebrew and Arabic in the year 2000 following his studies at the Arab Teaching College in Haifa, has held a myriad of positions in the field of education within the Arab and Bedouin sectors. When Abdallah landed, the Jewish Community Federation’s Israel Center shaliach (Israeli emissary) was waiting for him. In a traditional Mediterranean manner, the shaliach hosted Abdallah in his home for the next few days where he ate and slept, and the federation’s staff showed him around the Bay Area.

Abdallah Meaare

Abdallah Meaare, winner of Israel's 'Teacher of the Year' award, at a Bay Area Jewish day school

Because of his special interest in computers and technology, we arranged a tour at Google headquarters; we also did some sight-seeing in the city and visited a couple of Jewish day schools. Akiva Tor, Consul General of Israel for the Pacific Northwest region, invited Abdallah to a personal meeting in his office.

“It’s very pretty here and everybody is very nice to me,” said Abdallah to the Consul General. “And yet,” he continued, overlooking downtown San Francisco and the beautiful blue bay, “I look around and realize, what a great place we have back home. It’s like paradise. Education is the key. With good education that conveys trust and love to each student, we can offer the next generation a better tomorrow; we can give our children hope; we can create peace.”

Categories: Israel


November 11, 2011


The Federation