Shared Society

Shatil’s Shared Society program is born out of the belief that in order to bring Jewish- and Arab-Israelis together in a common vision, Israel needs something stronger and more robust than the promotion of coexistence and mutual tolerance. Shatil is therefore advancing the powerful concept of a shared society, one in which all its population groups feel a sense of ownership. To attain this vision, we are building and facilitating Arab-Jewish dialogue and joint-action processes which tackle root causes of conflict, alleviate tensions, and develop both interim and long-term solutions. We pursue four strategies:

Working on planning problems in the mixed city of Lod

Working on planning problems in the mixed city of Lod

Work in Mixed Cities

Most of Israel’s population lives in homogenous communities.  The exceptions are the traditional mixed cities of Haifa, Acco, Yaffo, Ramle, Lod, and Jerusalem, and a growing number of nominally Jewish towns with significant Arab populations, including Upper Nazareth, Karmiel, and Beersheva, just to name a few.  Cities can be the proving ground of the shared society concept. With residents of many backgrounds living side by side and municipal governments responsible for basic services, cities—even more than nations as a whole—should view diversity as a strength and not a threat. For this reason, Shatil’s Shared Society program includes many initiatives that are seeking to transform mixed cities into places that are truly shared by all their citizens. For example, Shatil invested five years in mapping, outreaching and building partnerships and working relationships with key local actors, as well as in developing practical recommendations for how to bring the city of Haifa closer to the paradigm of a shared society. The recommendations spanned areas as diverse as urban planning, culture, inter-communal relations, and business. Shatil is now working with local partners to implement the recommendations.

Advocating for Structural Changes

In order for a shared society to be made possible, there is a need to address inequalities in policies and institutions, such as the distribution of budgets, land, and other resources; planning and housing rights; education; and community and religious services. Shatil helps residents of cities around the country to mobilize and giving them the tools to achieve their goals, such as equal housing rights for Arabs in Lod and a school for Arab children in Nazareth.

Facilitating Meaningful Dialogue and Cooperation

Believing that it is important for the Jewish and Arab communities in Israel to engage constructively on the challenging issues that divide them, Shatil convened intellectual, social, religious, media, business and political leaders from both communities. These leaders came away from the dialogue experience with new insights that have enabled them to work together for the improvement of minority-majority relations in Israel and towards de-escalation of potentially violent ethnic conflict.

Arab women in the center

Activist women from Lod, Ramla, and Jaffa

Strengthening Organizations Promoting Shared Living

Shatil’s research has found that many organizations that are working to promote shared living lack the tools or budgets to develop, advance and leverage their actions to genuinely impact values, norms, policies and practices. Shatil’s expert consultants work with hundreds of organizations to help them cultivate their personnel, strengthen their management, find new sources of funding, and plan strategically so they can realize their visions. For example, in the Central Galilee, the NGO Al-Zahra applied for the first time to a Jewish Israeli donor and raised the funds it needed to open a mother-and-child center in the impoverished community of Al-Batouf.

Conflict Transformation Management Center

The Conflict Transformation and Management Center (CTMC) harnesses conflict energy and strategically transforms it into positive change. CTMC gathers conflict knowledge from the world over and develops its own models for implementation in Israeli society. Ultimately, CTMC not only promotes de-escalation of potentially violent situations, but also offers up constructive, strategic actions in promoting justice and equality.

Related Shatil News