Monthly Archives: April 2017

Multi-Media Success for Atta’a on Facebook Live Stream

For many Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, issues of residency status are of the utmost importance, and affect every part of everyday life. The rules are many and confusing, and seemingly always changing.

This issue came to the fore recently, when a case that dealt with Palestinians’ Jerusalem residency status reached the Supreme Court of Israel. Often, residents receive residency status and must prove on an annual basis that their ‘center of life’ is in Jerusalem. Residency status is taken away from those who cannot produce this proof. After a 10-year process, the court ruled that no one who was born in Jerusalem and received an Israeli I.D. number could have their status stripped from them, and they do not need to prove ‘center of life’ in Jerusalem on an annual basis.

This new development created even more confusion. In response, Atta’a decided to have a live-streamed video session, with a lawyer who is a regular volunteer at Atta’a, on Facebook. The session included lots of questions and answers, moderated by Atta’a director Daud Alian.

The 1/2 hour session took place on Thursday, March 23. It focused on residency status and Ministry of Interior regulations, as well as other questions that came up.

Atta'a Facebook video March 30

Atta’a Facebook video March 23

This was the first time Atta’a had ever done anything like this, so we didn’t know what to expect. Indeed, it was a huge success! There were some 100 people who watched the video in real-time – considered a huge success in Facebook terms. 1,800 clicked on the Facebook post, 500 reacted, either ‘liking,’ sharing or commenting. Since that day there have been nearly 5,000 views of the video. It has reached nearly 20,000 people.

As a result, likes on the Atta’a Facebook page skyrocketed, as did clicks on the Atta’a web site. We’re already planning the next time we do it again.

Here’s the explanation that accompanied the video that was covered by the 0202 – A View from East Jerusalem Facebook page:

The Atta Center provided legal advice to residents of Jerusalem on matters of national insurance and the Ministry of the Interior and Health Services. They broadcasted a conversation with an attorney about residency and family reunification. This comes after a Supreme Court decision recognizing the special status of Jerusalem residents as “native-born residents” and non-immigrants.

0202 Editors’ Note:
For the previous post about the Supreme Court decision regarding residency, see:

To read more about the decision, including the status of residents of East Jerusalem, see the Haaretz article:

#Residency #Law

And here’s the video, in Arabic, from the Atta’a Facebook page (Click here for the original post in Arabic):

Congratulations to Atta’a for adding video to its toolbox of one-on-one consulting, seminars, lectures, through Facebook and its Internet site, to help East Jerusalem Palestinians navigate the quagmire of rights realization in East Jerusalem.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its continued support of Atta’a since its founding in 2004.

2017-05-19T16:11:48+00:00 April 25th, 2017|Attaa, Blog, Identity Groups and Conflicts, Palestinians/Arabs|

Passover and Easter Together on Mount Zion

Mount Zion’s religious ceremonies are the subject of much excitement and attract pilgrims from all over the world. One of the most special times in in the spring, around the Passover and Easter holidays.

The week before Easter is especially busy. On April 13, the Thursday before Easter, the Custos, Guard of the Holy Places for the Catholic Church performs a ceremony in which he washes the feet of 12 excellent students of religion, exactly at the place where Jesus washed the feet of his 12 disciples.

This year, the date was extra special, since it took place both during the Passover holiday, when a large number of Jewish tourists came to Mount Zion, and during the Christian Orthodox Holy Week. Hundreds of tourists from different faiths visited Mount Zion on that day, many of them for the washing of the disciples ceremony.

Window to Mount Zion volunteers were there, as always, helping the Police to help keep order, explain what is happening to all passersby (of all faiths), to contribute to a more tolerant atmosphere during the ceremonies and to make everyone’s visit more pleasant during , and to join in the celebrations. All in all, this year’s ceremony went smoothly and quietly, a stark contrast to last year, when the ceremony coincided with the Jewish festival of Purim, which was quite a noisy affair. Click here to read about last year’s ceremony.

Here’s a short video from the ceremony:


Before Window to Mount Zion was established this and other Christian ceremonies had been the source of a great deal of tension, so we’re grateful for the progress that Window to Mount Zion volunteers have made. They have become such an integral part of ceremonies on Mount Zion, it seemed almost natural (and we were greatly honored) that one of the Window to Mount Zion volunteers was almost part of this important ceremony. A German speaker was needed, and Yael was the only one in the crowd. Similarly, an Arabic reader was also needed, and we called upon Ibrahim, a Muslim worker for our neighbor, the Diaspora Yeshiva. However, in the end neither participated because it was necessary to read part of Christian liturgy and they weren’t Christian. Still, it was an honor to be considered an integral part of the ceremony.

Here’s Yael’s Facebook post (in Hebrew) about the ceremony, and about Window to Mount Zion in general:


Many thanks to the volunteers of the Window to Mount Zion project for their continued dedication. May we have many more peaceful religious ceremonies thanks to your help!


The Writing is (not) on the Wall

It’s not nice to wake up during the Passover holiday to ugly graffiti:

Hate graffiti on the Railway Park in southern Jerusalem

Hate graffiti on the Railway Park in southern Jerusalem

Especially if it’s racist graffiti that says, ““Arabs, go home,” and “We want revenge.” It also had “Kahane was right,” Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the outlawed Kach movement that called to expel Arabs from Israel and the Palestinian territories, who was assassinated in Manhattan in 2012.

Fortunately, a group of activists, part of our network of activists for tolerance that include residents, city council members and the Municipality, were quick to act. They called the Municipal hotline, and within a few hours the graffiti was cleaned.

Working hard to blot out racism

Working hard to blot out racism

But they didn’t stop there. They replaced the graffiti with other signs, full of love and acceptance.

We love our neighbors, in Hebrew

We love our neighbors, in Hebrew

Here’s an independent post of what happened. The incident was even reported in both the English and Hebrew YNET web sites, which are associated with the most widely read national daily newspaper, Yediot Acharonot.

Hebrew article in Yediot Acharonot

Hebrew article in Yediot Acharonot national newspaper

We were doubly interested in this process, since we’ve been helping residents and activists along the Railway Park initiate community-building activities along the park almost since its opening. Coupled with this cooperative work to promote tolerance, we’re pretty proud of this network of activists, which acted quickly, independently, and effectively, with our support and encouragement.

Sign initiators and helpers - best way to spend a school holiday

Sign initiators and helpers – best way to spend a school holiday

Even Yael Freidson, the Ynet reporter who first reported the racist graffiti, tweeted, when she saw the final result, with a hashtag that says “these are things that make me happy”. Indeed, the tolerance activists of Jerusalem managed to make lemonade out of lemons. They demonstrated that Jerusalem has an efficient and sustainable network of tolerance!

Of course, the incident was posted on our Jerusalem Tolerance Facebook page:

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York for its support of our efforts both with residents along the Railway Park and to promote tolerance throughout Jerusalem. Many thanks also go to the Jerusalem Foundation for their support of our work.

Meeting in the Square for Interreligious Discussions

Last Thursday was a special day in the world of inter-religious activities and working toward tolerance in Jerusalem.

It started off with a great group of Jews, Christians and Muslims, Praying Together in Jerusalem, who get together monthly for interfaith prayer. This month, after their inspiring prayer, they joined other groups that we work with, Speaking in the Square and Meeting Place of the Yerushalmim Movement, for an an unforgettable evening of dialogue and tolerance in Zion Square. Later, ‘Living Together,’ a group of religious leaders from around Israel, joined in on the discussions.

Many faiths speaking in the square

Many faiths speaking in the square

Peta Jones Pellach was one of the organizers of the Praying Together in Jerusalem event. Afterwards, she wrote this in a blog post for the Times of Israel:

“After introductions, I posed the questions, “Can we be friends with people of other faiths? Isn’t his dangerous? Isn’t it also a little ingenuous – after all, don’t we always hold back a little in interfaith friendships?”

My Muslim friend was incensed! Of course you can have deep friendships with people from other faiths! She was passionate. The interchange led one of the young Jewish participants to exclaim that she was overcome with emotion. This was her first genuine interfaith experience. Indeed, none of the participants in the circle was prepared to acknowledge that interreligious friendships can be challenging. Whether or not it is always true, this group felt that difference in religion was not a barrier to a positive relationship.

The conversation flowed. Many of the Jewish participants took the opportunity to ask Christians about their faith and the Christians were delighted to be able to explain their beliefs.

….This is unity through diversity.”

Here’s the Facebook post of the event:

Here’s the link to the full post:

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their support in helping us to promote tolerance throughout the city.

ALYN Rehabilitative Hospital – Still a Model for Fully Integrated Cultural Competency

Ten years ago we began working with the ALYN Hospital, helping to turn their facility into the first fully culturally competent health care institution in the country. Today, cultural competency is a relatively common concept not only in the health care field, but also in welfare, academia, community work, and even the Israel Police.

Opening of Alyn Muslim Prayer Room

Opening of Alyn Muslim Prayer Room

The Israel Religious Action Center was so impressed of the success of ALYN, that it recently made this video, briefly explaining the process that the hospital went through. Indeed, when organizations ask us of a good example in the field of cultural competence, we often send them to Dr. Maurit Beeri, ALYN hospital director, to get her insights on the process and the excellent outcomes they have.

We’re proud to be part of this process. Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation, our long-time partner in cultural competency.

MiniActive Celebrating its Volunteers

On Thursday, March 23, MiniActive again celebrated its volunteers. This time, they took them on a special picnic to the Canada Park, about 45 minutes outside of Jerusalem.  A year ago they celebrated the Family/Mother/Women day with their families in Jerusalem)

How do you get 120 people to smile all at once?

How do you get 120 people to smile all at once?

The 120 women were honored by the presence of writer Nuzha Abu Ghosh who told then some of the historical events in the history of the village of Emmaus. Then they toured the area, its ancient and more modern ruins,

What was this oh so long ago?

What was this oh so long ago?

And held a scrumptious picnic lunch.

Looks yummy

Looks yummy

Many thanks to the MiniActive volunteers for their hard work and persistence throughout the year.

Continuous work

Continuous work

Here’s the post from the MiniActive Facebook page (in Arabic):

And here is the post in English (thanks to 0202):

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of the program.

Gearing Up for Jerusalemite Day

Jerusalem Day. Every day in Jerusalem is a meeting point between East and West, of Walls and Gold. Jerusalem – surrounded by hilltops, the subject of wonder. Jerusalem – with many, many different peoples.

Between the clichés and the syndrome (click here to read about Jerusalem Syndrome), everyday Jerusalem – and the Jerusalem of our dreams  – awaits.


Gearing up for Jerusalemite Day

Gearing up for Jerusalemite Day

We believe that Jerusalem Day is an ideal day to celebrate all that is special, unique and diverse about Jerusalem. Last year, we began this celebration, with A Different Day in Jerusalem, list of 50 events celebrating the diversity of Jerusalem. This year, we seek to build on that tradition, with “Jerusalemite Day – a Celebration of Diversity in Jerusalem”.

Principles of Open Space Technology

Principles of Open Space Technology

Last Thursday, March 16, we held, at Beit Yehudit – Ginot Ha’Ir Community Center, the first meeting for initiatives that seek to organize something on Jerusalemite Day. We had some 25 activists, all seeking to be part of this special production.

Small groups to advance individual initiatives

Small groups to advance individual initiatives

Some projects looking to be part of the action include: using music to build bridges, using religious texts as the basis for inter-religious encounters, a diversity march / happening, encounter between different ethnic groups, and much more.

The other side of the room

Thinking big

In addition to this meeting, we’ve put out a general call for initiatives to be carried out. Thus far we’ve got about 40, and expect dozens more by Jerusalemite Day, May 24.

Many thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jerusalem Foundation for their ongoing support of our efforts to promote tolerance in Jerusalem.