An integral part of the MiniActive network is to be in touch with municipal workers and officials. Much of the initial contact (calls to the 106 municipal hotline) is in Arabic, but the women found very quickly that in order to ensure that their complaints are followed through they must also have written and verbal contact with Hebrew speakers. This was no small obstacle, since many of the women knew very little or no Hebrew whatsoever.
Enter the ‘Speaking Hebrew’ project, a group of volunteers who seek to teach Hebrew to Arab women from East Jerusalem, with the classes taking place at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Mount Scopus campus. We began working with the project last year, and this year we’ve reached record numbers! Four classes – 130 women – are studying Hebrew in 3 levels, and there is an additional class taking place in Sur Baher.
It is sometimes challenging to enable the groups of 15 – 20 Palestinian women to pass the security guards at Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, but we – and they – have been undeterred by these temporary obstacles.