The first ever UK Task Force study trip to Israel took place from the 23 – 27 January 2011. Based in Nazareth, over fifty representatives from the Jewish community in the UK participated in a tour of Arab communities in the north of Israel, visiting civil society projects and taking part in panel discussions with leading interlocutors within the Arab community, the private sector and political sphere.
The programme, which included visits to Nazareth and Wadi Ara, Haifa, Acre and Tel Aviv, was structured according to four different themes: public resource allocation in Arab areas, Arab access to mainstream Israeli society, Jewish-Arab relations and future British engagement. Notable events included a British Council dinner with young Arab leaders and representatives from The Nazareth Academic Institute; a briefing with former Minister of Social Affairs and Services, Isaac Herzog MK, and a farewell lunch with UK Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould.
An important aspect of the trip was to look at potential for increasing British links with the Arab private sector in Israel. The group participated in a business roundtable with Arab and Jewish business leaders, the British-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Task Force business delegates, looking at possible opportunities for engagement. The group visited Tsofen, an NGO working to integrate the Arab community into the high-tech industry and into other advanced industries with Co-Director, Ms. Smadar Nehab and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr Ramzi Halabi; as well as New Generation Technologies, a technology start-up incubator in Nazareth, with its Chief Executive Officer, Nasri Said.
The trip aimed to inspire its participants to work with each other and Israeli partners to continue to increase engagement with issues facing Arab citizens on their return and judging from the response of participants, the Task Force is hopeful that this will happen. Alex Dwek, the Chairman of the Union of Jewish Students, stated “the realities of the issues facing Arab citizens of Israel are rarely discussed on campus. I believe this trip is the perfect opportunity to promote more widely to students the initiatives that exist in Israel to address these inequalities.”
For more information on upcoming trips, please contact Toni at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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