Gesher Le-Aravit (Bridge to Arabic) is a grassroots Arab-Jewish project developed by four teachers from the Arab village Jisr a-Zarqa, one of the poorest municipalities in Israel. The village is located on the Mediterranean coast, just north of Caesarea within the Haifa District.
The project offers Israelis and international visitors the opportunity to learn the Arabic language and experience culture in an Arabic-speaking environment, in Jisa a-Zarqa. Gesher Le-Aravit creates a unique opportunity for Arab-Jewish dialogue that is both a learning experience and a contribution to the socio-economic prosperity of the village.
Recently there have been two major new collaborative initiatives developed by Gesher Le-Arvit that will enable the project to grow and increase its impact:
First bridge to Arabic for Jisr a Zarqa’s neighbours – collaboration with Ramat-Hanadiv
As part of the ‘Partnership for Regional Sustainability’ initiative led by Ramat Hanadiv to create partnerships and connect the neighbouring councils of Hanadiv Valley, Gesher Le-Aravit offers residents from the region a free Arabic class. The aim of the project is to improve communication in the area, as well as the reputation of Jisr a-Zarqa by inviting their neighbours to learn Arabic in the village. Over 30 people have already registered for the first two trials, and 7 more sessions will take place over the next few months. Click here to read more about the free trials and register.
Empowering Jisr a-Zarqa’s Youth – collaboration with Israel’s Education Ministry
Last month, Gesher Le-Aravit had an encouraging visit from the members of the Community and Society Department of the Education Ministry. The visitors were introduced to the community of Jisr a-Zarqa and its challenges. They met youth from the village and heard at first-hand about their immediate needs and future dreams. The main issue raised was the language barrier when meeting Jewish youth, and their lack of knowledge of spoken Hebrew. One of the solutions proposed to deal with this challenge included Education Ministry supported training for youth from Jisr a-Zarqa to teach spoken Arabic to Jewish youth and to create an environment of mutual language studying and teaching.
The Education Ministry representatives praised their visit as the start of new collaborations between the ministry, the local municipality, and Gesher le-Aravit aiming to promote the local youth, its dreams and aspirations.
Click here for more information about the visit and photos.