Over thirty representatives from the UK’s Jewish community participated in a high-level study trip from 11-15 May exploring issues relating to Arab citizens of Israel living in Nazareth.
Led by Co-Chairs of the UK Task Force, UJIA Chief Executive Michael Wegier and Pears Foundation Executive Chair Trevor Pears CMG, the delegation included senior figures in British Jewry, including religious, political and youth leaders, as well as charitable foundations.
The group was provided with an active on-the-ground learning experience organised around four key educational themes: understanding Nazareth as a cultural and social hub for Israel’s Arab population, the complexities of land, identity and citizenship in Arab society, an introduction to Jewish-Arab relations and finally, looking to future opportunities for Arab citizens.
Delegates toured Nazareth and the surrounding area, visiting projects and engaging with leading representatives within the Arab community, the public sector and the civil society sphere. The programme included a networking lunch with Arab entrepreneurs, a meeting with national service volunteers from Ma’ase Olam and a visit to the Alfanar Employment Centre in Sakhnin. The group also heard from leading political figures, including MK Dr Hanna Swaid (Hadash) and Ophir Pines-Paz, Head of the Institute of Local Government at Tel Aviv University, former MK, Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister of Science, Culture and Sport.
The trip aimed to inspire participants to work with each other and Israeli partners to increase engagement and understanding of Israel’s Arab population on their return. Speaking after the study trip, Trevor Pears and Michael Wegier, Co-Chairs, UK Task Force said:
“Having conducted the first UK Task Force study trip in Nazareth three years ago, we were inspired to see such a strong growth of civil society and business activity in the area, which is helping to promote the advancement of the Arab population within Israeli society.”
“Moreover, we were extremely impressed with the depth of engagement shown by participants on this year’s study trip and the energy that the youth movements in particular are putting into educating about these complex and challenging issues. It was an outstanding few days that left all of our heads reeling with questions and ideas.”