Sadaka Reut - Arab-Jewish youth partnership
For years, Arab-Jewish relations in Israel have been tense and hostile. Israel’s declaration of independence and recognition as a Jewish state in 1948, providing a solution to the problem of the Jewish Diaspora and realizing the dream of the Zionist movement, was construed as a national catastrophe by the Palestinians, who lost their lands and properties and became one of the world’s largest refugee populations. Since then, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict passed through more and less violent phases, both sides never reaching an agreed-upon compromise that might end the conflict and ensure a better future for both peoples. Today, the complex relations between the Jewish majority and the Palestinian minority in Israel are affected on the one side by the civil inequalities that exist between citizens and on the other by the fact that the national conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has yet to be resolved. The events of the past years, whether it be the second Intifada, the Oct. 2000 killings by Israeli police of 13 Arab citizens, the building of the Wall, the evacuation of the Gaza settlements and the following violence and the war between Israel and Lebanon in summer 2006, have all contributed to increasing the prevalent trends of segregation and discrimination throughout both communities. The fact that the Palestinian population of Israel is considered to be the largest weakened sector of Israeli society considerably adds to the already existing tensions. Such circumstances fuel distrust and violence, making Arab-Jewish cooperation for the creation of a joint alternative nearly nonexistent, especially among the younger generation. At Sadaka-Reut, we believe that a broad bi-national struggle should be fought against all forms of discrimination and for complete civil equality within Israel, while a parallel struggle should seek to end the occupation and bring a just solution to the conflict. Sadaka Reut was founded in 1983 by a group of Jewish and Arab students sharing the vision of a better future for both communities. The organization works for social and political change in Israel through the promotion of a bi-national, multicultural and egalitarian society based on social justice and solidarity. Sadaka Reut focuses on youth education and community empowerment, looking to change attitudes on the long term by challenging the existing narratives and discourses concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and encouraging critical thinking and joint youth activism initiatives. In order to achieve these goals, we bring together groups of Jewish and Arab youth over extended periods of time, allowing them to overcome barriers of fears and stereotypes, while teaching them the importance of community involvement, providing them with valuable leadership skills and, through this process, creating a viable model for Jewish-Arab partnership. Sadaka Reut operates unique projects in Israel, including Arab-Jewish youth encounter and leadership groups, workshops in high schools across the country, a volunteer commune and leadership training program, community empowerment work in the mixed city of Jaffa and an annual volunteer work camp. All of our activities are designed both to train our activists as agents for social change and empower weakened communities from all sectors of society. Guided by our young, qualified and extremely committed staff and volunteers, our graduates continue working in the social change field, both at Sadaka Reut and in other organizations that promote similar values and goals.