A pilot training programme to promote better Jewish-Arab relations on campus in Israel and help the integration of Arab students into higher education, has been launched at Hebrew University. The programme is the first of its kind in Israeli academia, and will train 20 members of the university’s administrative staff and 20 members of the university’s security staff. Providing a window into Arab society in Israel, the course will comprise of 6 sessions and include guest lectures, practical workshops, and a study trip to Umm El-Fahem.
The lectures on the course will provide participants with insight into the background of Arab students and cover a range of subjects including: the Arab school system in Israel and its inherent disparities with the Jewish school system; current developments in Arab participation in Higher Education; an historical perspective of Arab society in Israel since the establishment of the State; and more. Additionally, the course will include practical workshops promoting inclusive service provision and awareness-raising of the impact of prejudice, social misunderstandings, and cultural gaps. This will take the form of training simulations and direct contact with Arab students from the Hebrew University campus.
The programme is initiated by The Abraham Fund Initiatives in partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. Anwar Elshikha, the Campus Programme Director at The Abraham Fund Initiatives, said: “This programme aims to provide a deep understanding of the principles that will build a perception of the campus as a shared space. A raised awareness of Arab society in Israel, its unique challenges and needs, will build a knowledge base of the daily reality of Arab students on Israel’s college campuses. We aim to illuminate the complexity of Jewish-Arab relations on campus, in relation to equal service provision for the student body. The main goal is to improve the quality of communication and enable service-provision for Arab students based on culturally sensitive, practical skills for the different staff cohorts participating in the courses. Based on the experience gained at the Hebrew University, this program will be expanded to all Higher Education Institutions in Israel.”
This programme adds to the ongoing efforts of The Abraham Foundation in promoting accessible education for Arab citizens of Israel. Recently they held a conference at Ono Academic College to discuss integration and equality between Jews and Arabs in Israel, and representation in higher education as a key to multiculturalism.