On March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Shatil convened the Coalition Against Racism and the Education for Shared Living Forum to launch a campaign entitled, ‘It all starts with Education.’
The campaign features the following viral video that confronts prejudice by both documenting the stereotypes that people have about minority communities and by profiling members of those communities that challenge those stereotypes:
The video links to the Forum’s website, which includes lesson plans and curriculum for the day, and a link to the Coalition against Racism’s 2016 annual survey. The survey found that 52% of the Israeli public thinks that racism is a greater problem than it was two years ago; 79% say there is racism towards Arab citizens of Israel; 77% say that there is racism against asylum seekers; and 75% say there is racism against Ethiopian-Israelis. 25% of Israelis report having experienced racism personally. 72% say that the discourse on social media intensifies racism and 73% say that education is the best way to combat racism.
The day was marked in several ways in the Knesset. NIF-grantee Tag Meir held an exhibit at the Knesset featuring photos from their many anti-racism events and solidarity visits. Members of the Education for Shared Living Forum also participated in two vital discussions: the Knesset Committee on Education, which addressed the depiction of racism in school textbooks, and the Knesset Finance Committee, which focused on the low percentage of Arab citizens of Israel employed within the civil service.
Omer Cohen, Shatil coordinator of the Education for Shared Living Forum, also appeared on popular television shows, to speak about the Forum and the work it is doing within the education system.
This March also saw the launch of the Public Council against Racism, made up of 20 well-known and influential figures from all sectors of Israeli society. One of the leading members of this group is Mehereta Baruch Ron, founding chair of Temerach (The Elected), the Forum of Ethiopian-Israeli Municipal Council Members, which grew out of a training led by Shatil for newly-elected city council members.