Hagar Association – Jewish-Arab Education for Equality

Hagar Association – Jewish-Arab Education for Equality

KOLOT – Voices of Hope, Post-October 7 Series
Hagar Association – Jewish-Arab Education for Equality

Over the last six years, we have shared, through our “Kolot: Voices of Hope” series, dozens of profiles of remarkable Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, who have been standing up, against tough odds, for progressive values of peace, social justice, human and civil rights, and democracy.

We are pleased to now be sharing updates on the important efforts being made since the horrific events of October 7 by many of the organizations we’ve featured in “Kolot”. We kicked off this series last week, with an updated look at the efforts of Women Wage Peace, whose cofounder, Yael Admi, was just named one of Time magazine’s two women of the year!

This week, we check in with the Hagar Association – Jewish-Arab Education for Equality, the multicultural and bilingual (Arabic and Hebrew) school system based in Beersheba, which we first featured in 2019.

Schools were fully shut down in Israel in the wake of October 7, but when classes resumed at the Hagar school weeks later, the educational faculty made sure to implement activities and structures designed to help the children navigate the ongoing crisis. This included creating a “Compassion Corner” just inside the school building where children were encouraged to view reality through “compassion spectacles” and express concern, through letters and pictures, for anyone – be that hostages or soldiers or the people in Gaza. To underscore its message of mutual understanding, the school placed a sign at the entrance to its campus reading, “We live together – we hurt together”.

Hagar is more than a school, though – it acts as and serves a community made up of both pupils and their many hundreds of family members. So, in the wake of October 7, as it has done in the past, Hagar responded to violence by doubling down on Jewish-Arab dialogue in order to shore up crucial community bonds and reaffirm its shared society mission. In the immediate aftermath of Hamas’ attack, Hagar held a community Zoom meeting and, in the weeks that followed, it brought Jews and Arabs together at various in-person gatherings, such as an evening of poetry and storytelling in which participants offered one another words of solidarity and encouragement.

Hagar’s wartime activities have also included cultural outreach to the surrounding region, including to unrecognized Bedouin communities. This has been conducted through its “Thaqafat Initiative for Shared Cultures,” which has been operating since 2021 to promote cross-cultural interaction and partnership.
In advance of every new school year, Hagar needs to convince new parents to enroll their children in the association’s system. Doing that during a time of war and fear has posed a unique challenge this year, to which Hagar responded with a billboard campaign throughout Beersheba, its signs touting its “education for a shared society – now more than ever”. We wish Hagar every success as it continues to plant the seeds of a better future for all.

Read more about Hagar Association
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By | 2024-03-01T13:13:49-05:00 March 1st, 2024|Action, Blog, Civil Rights, Democracy, Kolot, Palestinians, Peace, Programs, Religious Pluralism|0 Comments

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