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 three strategies:
Promoting Structural Change
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.
For example, the Bedouin township of Lakiya in the Negev lacks the human and financial resources to invest in strategic planning, and its decision-making has been dominated by entrenched interest groups. A Strategic Planning Division is in the works, and will be the engine Lakiya currently lacks. With Shatil’s assistance in creating this new division, the local authority will be better equipped to plan for economic growth, further social development, and will enable officials in Lakiya’s local authority to lead complex negotiations with government authorities.
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 convenes intellectual, social, religious, media, business and political leaders from both communities. The Shatil-created Forum of Shared Society Organizations, comprised of eight leading organizations in the field, coordinates strategies together towards a more equal society. These leaders come away from Forum meetings with new insights that enable them to work together for the improvement of minority-majority relations in Israel and towards de-escalation of potentially violent ethnic conflict.
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.
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