A Mosaic of Diversity: Jewish Federation Supports Shared Society Initiatives in Israel

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Israeli and Arab children learn together at a Hand in Hand school. Courtesy of Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel

Israel is a mosaic of diversity: There are Jews, Arabs, Druze and Christians, among so many other groups. Promoting shared society initiatives and peaceful coexistence in the Jewish homeland has always been a mission of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Since Oct. 7, this priority has only increased. Through funding from its Annual Campaign, emergency fund and other funding sources, the Jewish Federation works to increase equity and tolerance between these groups.

“After Oct. 7, it is more important now than ever to foster connections between Jewish and Arab people living in Israel,” noted Tali Lidar, the Jewish Federation’s director of Israel and global operations. “The terror of that day did not differentiate between Jews and Arabs. Israel can only maintain a strong future if all its inhabitants are able to safely and comfortably live their lives — which is our ultimate goal with funding these shared society organizations.”


Funding through the Jewish Federation is already making a tangible impact in repairing and strengthening bonds between these diverse Israeli communities.

“We know that Jewish and Arab citizens have lived together in Israel before this crisis, during this crisis, and will continue to live together after this crisis,” said Jimmy Taber, international development director of the Abraham Initiatives, one of the Jewish Federation’s grant recipients.

“At this moment, it’s critically important to find the way that we will live together moving forward. Thanks to the support of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, we were able to embark on a partnership with the IDF’s homefront command to produce materials that were culturally appropriate for Arab society with emergency instructions on how to respond during this crisis.”

The following organizations are among those that the Jewish Federation funds to actualize this goal.

Abraham Initiatives
After Oct. 7, the Jewish Federation allocated $5,000 from the Philly Stands with Israel Emergency Fund to the Abraham Initiatives’ Home Front Command program, which specializes in civilian protection during crises and wartime. Emergency funding enabled the organization to create and distribute a video in Arabic for the Bedouin community to prepare and protect Arab citizens during this ongoing war.

Atid Bamidbar R.A.
Atid Bamidbar’s Springboard to Hi-Tech for Bedouin Young Women program received $35,000 this year from the Jewish Community Fund, the Jewish Federation’s main source of unrestricted dollars that go towards areas of greatest need. This program is a collaboration of the Jewish community of Atid Bamidbar in the eastern Negev and their neighboring Bedouin community of Abu Rachma.

It provides 12th-grade girls from Israel’s underserved and poverty-stricken Bedouin population exposure to the technology sector via presentations, study tours and hackathon simulation experiences. A select group will participate in an intensive program that includes small-group training, mentorship and hands-on experience to provide them with marketable skills for immediate employment and/or access to academic studies.

Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel
After Oct. 7, the Jewish Federation granted $11,100 through two donor-advised funds to Hand in Hand, a network of integrated, bilingual schools for Jewish and Arab children in Israel.

Keren Shutafut
After Oct. 7, the Jewish Federation allocated $50,000 from the Philly Stands with Israel Emergency Fund to Keren Shutafut, a partnership with foundations and Israeli philanthropists to address the growing conflict between Arab and Jewish communities. This organization works to alleviate tensions between the two groups while also creating initiatives to foster general inclusion.

Rahat Community Center
After Oct. 7, the Jewish Federation allocated $60,000 from the Philly Stands with Israel Emergency Fund to Rahat Community Center, which is based in Rahat, a predominantly Arab Bedouin city in southern Israel. Emergency funding provided 75 computers for children attending school online.

Sunflowers
After Oct. 7, the Jewish Federation allocated $5,000 from the Philly Stands with Israel Emergency Fund to Sunflowers, an organization based in Rahat. Emergency funding allowed the organization to open a center for Bedouin youth impacted by the war to receive psychological support.

Yozmot Atid
Yozmot Atid’s Micro-Business Entrepreneurship Program will receive $60,000 over the next two years from the Jewish Federation’s Women of Vision Endowment Fund. This grant will be used to bring Arab and Jewish women entrepreneurs together through business training courses, workshops and mentorship programs to assist in the promotion and expansion of small businesses. Looking to establish a shared network of women-owned businesses nationwide, the program is being launched in Nazareth and the surrounding communities.

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To help support these shared society initiatives year-round, which is needed now more than ever due to the ongoing crisis, make a gift at jewishphilly.org/donate.

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