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Study Day- Gemini

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On January 3rd, 2014, 35 Gemini participants, students of Achva and Beit Berl colleges and Tel Aviv University, took part in a study day touring Jaffa and meeting with local activists. Following the day Project Coordinator Yael Tsabari wrote her impressions.

“It is always surprising to see what happens to us, Palestinians and Jews, when we hear the Palestinian narrative without the Jewish one. It happened during the study day, when Gemini students visited Jaffa in January. Students set together and heard the stories. There was a feeling that something is not right. Emotions were high and discussions heated: was there really a grand Palestinian city here? How come they only tell us the Palestinian story? How come the Palestinians didn’t know what a Ghetto was at 1948? Did they really put Ajami residents in a Ghetto? And what about all the Palestinians who have been living here since? Is Jaffa’s Nakba really ongoing, still making an effect 70 years on?

A lot of questions about a story that is still silenced, and by the student reactions, still require a lot of courage to tell it. Most of the 20+ participants did not know what happened before and after 1948, and they missed the known and told Jewish narrative, as if something terrible will happen without it, if we tell only the Palestinian narrative. What was clear was that the lives of the Palestinian residents of the town are still influenced by what happened before, during and after 1948. When looking at the Palestinian story, usually the focus is on the deportation of the Palestinians by the Jews in 1948, missing the culture and commerce which represented the prosperous Jaffa in the past, as well as the years of coming to terms with the break of this life. A rich cultural history and ongoing identity erasure lead many young Palestinian youth to ask what was here before 1948, and to change what has been happening to Palestinians in the city since the 1950s. 1948 is not the zero point in either story or the end point of it. But for some reason, it is irrelevant to hear what was here before the Jews and scary to listen to what is happening now to the Palestinians. Our ears, which are used to hear about the Palestinian existence mainly regarding the historical connection between the Jewish state and the Palestinian deportation, find it difficult. But we are all here, 2014. A change only happens with a desire to internalize the other’s story, any other: Palestinian, Mizrahi, female. This is the only way to be sensitive to what is happening around us and to create a society open to hear our different stories which compose this place. Only then we can think without fear and through willingness – if I was a Palestinian today, would I be happy with the way things are? 

Sadaka Reut 2012-2013 Annual Report

On the seam between the centre and the Negev

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On the seam between the Centre and the Negev, where Palestinian and Jewish peripheries meet, the Achva College is located. As a peripheral bi-national space, we would expect the struggle against the Prawer-Begin plan and the discrimination of both Jewish and Palestinian residents would become a basis for cooperation. However, this reality of discrimination and dispossession which forms the students’ lives still doesn’t motivate them to work together, because there is no together. They share the canteen and the study rooms, but years of segregation in the education system and of demonization created an atmosphere of alienation and fear. The separation was institutionalized and created a reality where it’s difficult to find a reason to speak, ask and understand each other. Even if there is a joint interest, it is difficult to identify it.

This month we opened a Gemini group at Achva College for the first time. The project operates bi-national student groups on campuses, in cooperation with CRS and funded by USAID. The issue of the rift between the Jewish and Palestinian students came up as soon as the first session, when a Jewish participant said:At recess I will always go to the Jewish students sitting together in the yard and never to an Arab group, I don’t know how to approach them. While a Palestinian student commented: The situation is very bad, there is a strong separation between Jews and Arabs.’

It is clear to all group members that this reality must change. 100 Students were eager to take part in the project, but we were able to choose only twenty participants. At Gemini we work to build partnership where there is segregation, to promote dialogue where there is silencing, to create solidarity between people who see themselves and their struggles separately and to support the founding of activists groups which will jointly promote a social political alternative on campuses.


 

Sadaka-Reut’s Graduates – Agents of Change

Sadaka Reut through the eyes of it’s graduates: Film

A group of Jews and Palestinians have completed the facilitatores trainning of Sadaka Reut

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Sadaka Reut’s training course for facilitators finished at the end of May. Fifteen participants finished the course, which took place over four months, and received the knowledge and tools to implement Sadaka Reut’s political and educational approach. שome of them will continue in the organization as facilitators in the coming year, others will apply their skills and knowledge in other educational frameworks such as schools, youth movements, etc.

The uniqueness of the course comes from its combination of educational methods inspired by critical pedagogy and pedagogy of freedom, together with the viewing the facilitator as an activist that brings her world view and her political stances into the process of working with the group. So in addition to knowledge on how to direct the group, group formation, moderating a discussion and planning the workshops, the participants were trained on tools for guiding the activism of youth and promoting intervention in the context of our current reality, as well as taking a position within the group.

In the experience of one of the participants, “In one of the meetings, the facilitator asked to teach games, her goal was to open up a discussion about the relationship between minorities and majorities in society in the question of rights and responsibilities. As part of the game, the minority group had to give up their chairs. The facilitator explained to the group that this was a simulation and it was one of the games that she used with youth, and that every time she had run the activity, everyone cooperated and gave up their chairs. In the activity I saw an amazing moment in which the group became active and developed political awareness. In my opinion rebellion and resistance, transitions political learning to political action and activism, which is often in the form of resistance to the establishment.”

A summary of one of the participants, “In the course I acquired the tools for understanding youth and for working with them. I acquired skills that help me to understanding the power relations in society and how to deal with them. I learned in great depth about societal background of participants from marginalized communities and the professional tools for facilitating groups.

The staff facilitators and coordinators of the projects wish the alumni of the course luck and thank them for their participation and for the opportunity, that allowed us once again to relearn and think about the educational and political world view of Sadaka Reut.