Blog Category: ‘Palestinians/Arabs’

MiniActive – Reaching for the Clouds

January 28th, 2017

We’ve no doubt how far and how high our MiniActive women can go. And now they’ve reached Mount Hermon!

MiniActive reaching for the clouds

MiniActive reaching for the clouds

We’ve described here and here some of the trips that we’ve organized for the MiniActive women as a way to say thanks to our network of 1,000 Palestinian women throughout East Jerusalem who work continuously on a volunteer basis to improve their environment, and have succeeded fantastically. You can see some of their 2016 successes and adventures in the vido they made:

 

This time, they went on a trip to Mount Hermon, in the north of the country. 55 MiniActive volunteers made the long trip, the first time they’ve ever gone there.

Starting at the bottom

Starting at the bottom

When they started out, it looked like any other winter day, with palm trees and grass.

Climbing higher

Climbing higher

And then they climbed higher.

As if in a winter wonderland

As if in a winter wonderland

Not what we’re used to seeing, even in Jerusalem!

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of this program.

Here’s the Facebook post from the MiniActive Facebook page:

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2016 – What a Year!

January 25th, 2017

As we jump head-first into 2017, we wanted to take a minute to reflect on 2016, and what a year it’s been! Overall, a year of unprecedented growth and development, and we can’t wait to get started in 2017. Here are some highlights:

Cultural Competence

  • The Jerusalem as a Culturally Competent City conference in May 2016, organized jointly by the JICC and the Jerusalem Foundation as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, was a turning point for the JICC. Attended by hundreds of professionals, from Jerusalem and throughout Israel, the conference presented strides that have been made over the past 10 years, and set the stage for the next step of meeting diverse residents’ diverse needs, in all areas of life.
  • Continued work in the health care system, in Jerusalem and as a model throughout Israel, training in-house coordinators and facilitators to increase sustainability and adaptability within individual institutions. For the first time, work included a national network of hospitals and clinics.
  • Expansive work in the Israel Police Force, reaching most police stations and present and future commanding officials, and continuing to expand training in 2017.
  • Groundbreaking work with the National Insurance Institute (NII), East Jerusalem branch, the first NII branch in the country to undergo a process of cultural competence.
  • In the Jerusalem Municipality, the entire Community Services Administration, which includes welfare, public health, immigrant absorption, and more, is undergoing training, as well as the Auditor’s Office which will be able to look at the entire Municipality’s operations through the prism of cultural competency and sensitivity.
  • Santé Israël, the first web site to make Israel’s health care system accessible to French speakers, celebrated its first birthday. 
Ms. Uzma Shakir, Keynote Speaker

Ms. Uzma Shakir, Keynote Speaker, Jerusalem as a Culturally Competent City conference

Paramedical Professionals

Making healthcare practitioner exams accessible to Arab residents of east Jerusalem

2016 was an important year for us to take stock of the past four years of this program. Our conclusions show that:

  • The number of certified Arab paramedical professionals in East Jerusalem has grown significantly.
  • The program has enabled the JICC to more clearly map the situation of different paramedical professions in east Jerusalem, contributing to the knowledge of training in the Jerusalem area.
  • The awareness both among Palestinian institutes of higher education and health care institutions in east Jerusalem as well as Israeli Ministry of Health has been raised significantly.
  • A large window of opportunity for Arab women paramedical professionals to improve economic opportunities has been opened.

Nurses studying to pass their Israeli certification examinations

Talking Coexistence – Arabic Language Instruction

Both 2015 – 2016 and 2016 – 2017 broke enrollment records. In 2015-16 there were 180 students in 12 classes, over 5 levels. In 2016-2017, there are 240 students in 16 classes, also over 5 levels. We also held several cultural evenings to enrich students’ understanding of Arabic culture. Here’s a short video about the program:

Atta’a Assistance Center for the Rights of East Jerusalem Residents

The Atta’a Center has been in existence since 2004, and in 2015 it came under the aegis of the JICC. In 2016 we have seen:

  • 70% growth in number of requests
  • Ballooning of its Facebook page to over 7,100 ‘likes,’ and launching of its web site.
  • Publication of a widely-referenced booklet on the Ministry of Interior
  • Expansion of network of partners in action, both from NGO’s and advocacy groups as well as municipal and government agencies.

Atta’a Presenting workshops

MiniActive for Arab Residents of East Jerusalem

  • For the first time ever, MiniActive activities led to a change in policy. After months of campaigning, MiniActive led the way toward the addition of 3 million NIS to the annual municipal sanitation budget for east Jerusalem, and 16 million NIS for the purchase of additional equipment for sanitation. As a result of this work, the entire Municipality is focusing their attention on garbage collection throughout
  • In January 2016, MiniActive organized the first ever Arabic language Horticulture Therapy course in Jerusalem for special education teachers, in cooperation with the David Yellin Academic College of Education.
  • Bus stops in entire neighborhoods were repaired and replaced, thanks to MiniActive.
  • 210 women – including 50 youth – are studying Hebrew through a volunteer NGO to improve the effectivity of their activism. This is a record-breaking number, which broke last year’s record of 150 women.
  • In MiniActive Youth for the Environment, teenage girls learn leadership skills while participating in major environment-improving public art and other projects in neighborhoods throughout east Jerusalem.
  • MiniActive became a model for international work, hosting a delegation that works with the Roma population in the Czech Republic in November 2016.

Take a look at MiniActive’s own year in review. It’s pretty easy to understand, even if you don’t know Arabic:

Emergency Readiness Networks

In 2016 we expanded the network to include 14 communities throughout Jerusalem. In addition to training new volunteers, the program included training of existing networks to maintain ability to respond and increase sustainability.

Planning on map

Planning strategy on map

Multicultural Participatory Democracy

In 2016 we mentored community center staffs in Gilo, Kiryat Menachem, Givat Messuah, Baka’a and south Talpiot. For the first time, residents – especially the Ethiopian community in Kiryat Menachem and the highly diverse community of south Talpiot –felt that they were able to influence issues that affected their everyday lives. Training included using Facebook as a community-building tool key to increasing residents’ engagement in community processes.

Writing and submitting objections

Writing and submitting objections in Gilo

Promoting Tolerance in the Public Sphere

Since the summer of 2014 the JICC have been at the forefront of promoting tolerance in Jerusalem. 2016 accomplishments include:

  • A Different Day in Jerusalem celebrated Jerusalem’s diversity through 50 coordinated events, affecting tens of thousands of people on Jerusalem Day. It was the first time such a broad effort has been made to celebrate Jerusalem’s diversity.
  • JICC-mentored Speaking in the Square and other tolerance initiatives that came in their wake led to the redesigning of Zion Square, to be called Tolerance Square. The initiative’s Effective Dialogue methodology spread, and is now being presented in national frameworks.
  • 0202-Points of View from Jerusalem are now liked by nearly 80,000 people and reach some 150,000 people weekly on Facebook and the Internet. The network now includes pages that translate from Arabic to Hebrew, from Arabic to English and one which brings news from the Ultra-Orthodox world to the awareness of the general population.
  • The JICC was asked to be one of the leading organizations in the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations to Promote Tolerance, formed by the Center for Young Adults and the Municipality’s Young Authority.
  • The JICC is continuing to develop Tolerance Network Teams (TNT’s), a series of neighborhood-based and theme-based grassroots initiatives that seek to advance tolerance in Jerusalem.
Elhanan Miller Haaretz article

Haaretz article about A Different Day in Jerusalem

Window to Mount Zion

Since October 2015, Window to Mount Zion has bridged inter-religious and inter-community gaps that have festered between Jewish, Christian and Muslim groups for centuries. As a result of its activity over the past year:

  • In unheard-of cooperation, religious Jewish and Christian groups have issued joint statements condemning hate crimes on Mount Zion.
  • Christian ceremonies, which in the past have caused inter-religious tension, proceeded without incident.
  • The celebration of Christian and Jewish holidays that coincided simultaneously, which in the past had been the source of conflict and tension, also proceeded smoothly.
Window to Mount Zion volunteers

Window to Mount Zion volunteers

Asylum Seekers

The JICC, together with the Jerusalem Municipality, sponsor the only paid public servant in Israel to help asylum seekers, outside of Tel Aviv. We are also part of a consortium of organizations and agencies that seek to meet the needs of asylum seekers living in the city.

Tour of Nahlaot neighborhood

Families of asylum seekers on tour of Nahlaot neighborhood

Thank You!

Many many thanks go out to our partners in action and our donors. You can read about our activities in more detail either by clicking on the hyperlinks above, or by clicking here.

Looking forward to making 2017 even better!

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MiniActive Becoming an International Model

January 14th, 2017

The 1,000-strong MiniActive Network of Palestinian women is making a pretty big splash here in Jerusalem. Now they’ve become an international model for action.

Last month we hosted a delegation from an organization that works with the Domari population in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic. A delegation of six visited the MiniActive project for 5 days. We gave them an introduction about the JICC as well as to MiniActive. Intisar explained how the MiniActive network was built – with clusters throughout Jerusalem, requests from the municipal hotline, and follow-up until the problems are fixed. A short movie was made for them and for the MiniActive members themselves:

On the second day they met with four of the regional MiniActive coordinators. Each one told about her specific work methods and how she works with the women in her group. On the third day they went on a tour of East Jerusalem neighborhoods. They also met with senior municipal officials – city council members, the director of City Beautification Division, and an adviser to the Mayor, who spoke about MiniActive’s unique relationship with municipal bodies, its benefits to the city, and its effectiveness in achieving improvements on-the-ground in East Jerusalem.

We used this opportunity to familiarize the delegation with our work in West Jerusalem as well. They were saw efforts in deliberative democracy, cultural competency, and in activism for tolerance. We introduced them to the 0202-View from East Jerusalem and they experienced Speaking in the Square first-hand as well.

We couldn’t let them leave Jerusalem without meeting up with the Domari population here. On the Thursday afternoon of their visit we arranged for them to meet with the Mukhtar of that community here.

It was a very good visit. We wish them well and the best of luck in using some of the principles of MiniActive to help their community in Brno. We’ll keep you posted!

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Atta’a – Rights Workshops throughout East Jerusalem

January 6th, 2017

Rights, laws and regulations – on health care, welfare, disability, residency status – a long list of rules, always in Hebrew, always changing.

Not all the changes are in residents’ favor. However, our job – or Atta’a’s job – is not to judge, but to explain. Explain how the new rules and regulations are different than what people were used to. How these changes can affect people’s everyday lives. And what can be done and to whom to turn to try and right injustices. Often, much can be cleared up with explanations in non-legal language, or with help in filling out forms and collecting documentation.

Daud, Atta'a Director, in a workshop

Daud, Atta’a Director, in a workshop

Toward that goal, Atta’a holds a range of public community workshops on a variety of subjects, to help explain these new rights and regulations. One such workshop was held on last Thursday, December 29 in the Shuafat Refugee Camp, and another was recently held at the new community center in Al-Thori (Abu Tor, on December 5). There have recently been changes regarding regulations of Israeli medical care, based on residency status. The new law requires any non-Israeli citizen who is married to someone with residency status to pay a one-time fee (nearly 8,000 NIS), plus several hundred shekels each month – per person – in order to qualify for medical insurance. For those who qualify for national health insurance coverage (citizens and permanent residents), monthly fees are figured as a percentage of one monthly paycheck, and come to 2-300 NIS per month. This also includes children. Co-payments are taken on a per-use basis.

Important information in the workshop

Important information in the workshop in A-Thori

There are many aspects to the law that are creating much confusion, and Atta’a is working with a number of NGO’s to clarify and help residents. For example, the sum asked of non-Israelis (including those from the West Bank and Gaza) married to those with resident status (nearly all the cases in East Jerusalem) is much higher than that asked by those married to Israeli citizens. This was brought to the attention of the courts, who froze the law, making the higher payments unnecessary until the law is un-frozen. But Atta’a has heard of many cases in which HMO’s still require these payments. Atta’a is working with another organization to establish a special cases committee, for those who are unable to pay the new law’s exorbitant fees, since all costs are per person and the average salary is 4-5,000 NIS per month.

Other times, issues require more intensive care. Atta’a’s volunteers, who are often also lawyers, are on hand when necessary to help residents through the process of clarifying a vast range of issues from a legal standpoint. And when relevant, the volunteers refer these cases to other groups or organizations.We hope and anticipate that this will make a difference in people’s lives.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their ongoing support of this program.

 

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Atta’a 2016 – 70% Increase in Cases Over 2015!

December 25th, 2016

Well, the numbers are in – as of today, in 2016, Atta’a Assistance Center for the Rights of East Jerusalem Residents took care of 859 cases, nearly 70% more than in 2015! Many of these came from Facebook (232), and the remainder came from visits to the 3 drop-in stations throughout East Jerusalem – Beit Hanina, Wadi Joz and Sur Baher.

At a workshop in Sur Baher

At a workshop in Sur Baher

But the more interesting story is how they got the word out. A lot of the work was canvassing community meetings throughout East Jerusalem, at different community centers such as Issawiya, Wadi Joz and Abna al-Quds in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. They also distributed printed thousands of flyers and distributed them at key locations – the different community centers, Bituach Leumi and Ministry of Interior, East Jerusalem Branches, and more.

This year they also renewed the Atta’a Facebook page, posting updates regularly. To date, the page has over 7,400 likes, and is growing. This year, Atta’a also launched its Internet site, which boasts 500 entrances to the site, 400 of them to its new booklet on rights of East Jerusalem Palestinians at the Ministry of  Interior. Want to read more? We wrote about these accomplishments here and here on our blog.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of this project.

 

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An Insiders View – 0202 Beyond the Screen

December 3rd, 2016

When was the last time you could experience a newspaper from Meah Shearim, or get an inside peek at what goes viral in Silwan? Palestinian and Ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem, two vastly different experiences from the secular-religious Jewish continuum of another 300,000 Jerusalmites. Only a few blocks separate them physically, but they are all worlds apart.

This Facebook event picture basically sums it up

This Facebook event picture basically sums it up

In a truly Jerusalemite way, they all came together last week (November 22) at the Hamiffal cultural space, at the 0202: Beyond the Screen event. The event brought together representatives from the original 0202: A View from East Jerusalem and the newly-launched 0202: A View from Ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem for a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Jerusalem and current events from their different points of view.

Bursting at the seams, with another 750 viewers online

Bursting at the seams, with another 750 viewers online

What does Jerusalem look like? What can we learn from a deeper look at 0202 items? How does East Jerusalem view Ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem, and vice versa? What do the same news items look like as covered from East Jerusalem news sources or from Ultra-Orthodox news sources?

During the evening we were able to look at a number of different indicative posts that enabled panelists to analyze media, reality and the gap in between in ultra-orthodox and east Jerusalem,  crossing social, cultural, and physical borders through Facebook. Panelists included: Hatem Khweis – editor of “Hon” website and “Al-Balad” newspaper; Nasr Temimi – an active resident from Ras el-Amud; Yael Yechieli Persico – Director of Freedom of Religious and Pluralistic Judaism, ShatilBoaz Ben Ari – Photographer, “Haredim 10” News; Ohad Merlin – Editor, “0202 – A View from East Jerusalem”; Yossi Klar – Editor, “0202 – A View from Ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem”; Michal Shilor – Founder and Director, 0202.

From L. to R.: Nasr, Boaz, Yossi, Ohad, Yael, Hatem and Michal

From L. to R.: Nasr, Boaz, Yossi, Ohad, Yael, Hatem and Michal

In all, over 150 people squeezed into the main space at Hamiffal, and another 750 people watched on live stream! You can watch the video of the event here:

Earlier in the day Yossi and Ohad, both editors at 0202, were interviewed on the Galei Israel radio station. Click below to hear the interview in Hebrew.

Congratulations to Michal and the entire 0202 team for another successful Beyond the Screen event. Can’t wait for the next one!

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MiniActive – Studying Hebrew to Improve Activism

December 2nd, 2016

Well, the academic year has started, and it’s time to get back to studying Hebrew. We’ve written about MiniActive studying Hebrew here and here. Every year, more and more MiniActive women – and MiniActive are studying Hebrew.

Starting at the beginning with level 1

Starting at the beginning with level 1

The courses take place at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and are operated by the Medabrot Ivrit (Speaking Hebrew) project.

Posing for a picture before class

Posing for a picture before class

This year, we have 210 women – and 50 MiniActive Youth – in three levels, studying Hebrew. This Hebrew will enable the women to communicate with municipal and other officials, write letters, and more.

Learning to communicate with one another

Learning to communicate with one another

We’ve been working with Medabrot Ivrit for several years now, and we’re especially proud this year, after they won first prize in the Jerusalem Foundation‘s Social Innovation Challenge this past September.

Even MiniActive Youth are participating

Even MiniActive Youth are participating

Kol Hakavod to organizers and participants!

Here’s one of the posts from the MiniActive Facebook page:

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MiniActive Youth – Now They’re Coming To Us

November 26th, 2016

Not  so long ago, in order to hold a project of our MiniActive Youth for the Environment, we needed to look for a place to do it, get all the OK’s and proceed to work.

Now, they’re coming to us. After our successes in Silwan, Issawiya, and Wadi Joz, we recently got a call from a school in Umm Tuba, which wanted us to come and decorate the walls outside their school. They even offered to prepare the site for us. Here are some pictures of the preparatory work in action.

Distributing paint

Distributing paint

We’ll keep you posted as the MiniActive Youth for the Environment transform yet another part of East Jerusalem!

Making it a team effort

Making it a team effort

The following day the girls got to work.

Getting down to work in Umm Tuba

Getting down to work in Umm Tuba

Definitely looking much better.

Painting a variety of images

Painting a variety of images

Can’t wait to see pictures when it’s completely finished!

Improving the environment for everyone

Improving the environment for everyone

And here’s the first Facebook post (in Arabic) about the preparation:

And then the continuation of work by the youth:

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Adapting the Best Type of Cultural Competency at the National Insurance Institute, East Jerusalem Branch

November 15th, 2016

We described here our process of making the East Jerusalem branch of the National Insurance Institute (NII) culturally competent. We began with training sessions in the beginning of the year; now, we’re deepening that learning.

Over the summer we met with the “Excellence Team” of the branch, a dedicated group of 8 professionals who volunteered to improve the level of service given at the branch. They are also in charge of the assimilation of cultural competence principles. During the meetings the group began to develop a training workshop for all workers.

Exercises in Cultural Competence

Exercises in Cultural Competence

As part of this development, the Excellence Team is also going out into the field. Last week they visited four organizations that have already undergone processes of cultural competency adaptation: ALYN Rehabilitative Hospital, Hadassah College, the Municipal Welfare Office in the Bucharim neighborhood, and the David Precint (which includes Mt. Zion and the Old City) of the Police Department. The Team interviewed representatives in order to better understand the processes each one went through, and to see what can be applied to the NII East Jerusalem branch.

At the ALYN Rehabilitative Hospital, for example, the team were surprised and impressed by the (culturally competent) services, and felt that the hospital wasn’t known well enough in East Jerusalem. It seems that they’ve now become ALYN ambassadors in East Jerusalem.

Seminars in and outdoors

Seminars in and outdoors

In the future the Team will also be involved in the planning principles of the new branch, which can also have a significant impact on its cultural competency. Items on the list include: physical accessibility, signage, a nursing room, a prayer room, thinking about if it’s necessary to have separation between men and women, strengthening language among workers, and more.

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You Can Make Almost Anything from Recycled Paper

November 6th, 2016

You can make almost anything out of recycled paper, even a replica of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Replicating the mosque from recycled paper

Replicating the mosque from recycled paper

This piece, and many others like it, are being fashioned from recycled paper, courtesy of the MiniActive Youth – Youth for the Environment Project.

We could use some more trees around here, even if they're paper

We could use some more trees around here, even if they’re paper

The youth first rip up old newspapers, turn them into a paste, model them into their desired shape, and paint.

Digging into the paste

Digging into the paste

This is one of many projects that MiniActive Youth is doing to improve immediate surroundings in East Jerusalem.

Preparing both inside and out

Preparing both inside and out

You can read about earlier projects here, here and here, and in the general MiniActive blog category. Can’t wait to see what they do next!

Here’s the Facebook post in Arabic:

 

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