Effective Activism

Little Prince – We’re Talkin’ about a Garbage Revolution

At the JICC, it is our mission to ensure that residents from all Jerusalem communities are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to effect change, on a local and larger level. The Little Prince – Cleaning Up Jerusalem Together seeks to do this, focusing on cleaning up Jerusalem. This past week we had two such opportunities – and we raised public awareness along the way.

The Jerusalem Garbage Commando

The Jerusalem Garbage Commando

Last Friday (October 26) we held the first of a series of ‘expert training’ meetings, which aim to engage residents to become a part of the Garbage Commando. Gilo resident and the official record-holder for reports to the 106 municipal hotline (where you report excess garbage and other hazards), Dan Krakow, explained the ins and outs of reporting hazards, whom to turn to in the Municipality, and more. This was the first such meeting, and we intend for there to be many more. The meeting was covered in the local Hebrew Jerusalem newspaper, Yediot Yerushalayim (article above).

Little Prince activists not only made news locally – they were also in national news. The article pictured below, “Rich Trash, Poor Trash,” (see here for the article in Hebrew) which was published on the national news web site YNet, describes the gap in response time between rich neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods after trash and other hazards are reported. In [the well-to-do] neighborhood of Ramot, hazards were cleared away only 1 /2 hour after being reported,” notes the article. “While in the [less well-to-do] neighborhood of Nahlaot…reports from October 9th had still not been handled.”

Rich Trash, Poor Trash on Ynet

Rich Trash, Poor Trash on Ynet

What’s for sure is that Little Prince’s activists, from all sectors and all groups in Jerusalem, will keep on the watch to make Jerusalem a clean city.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its support of our effective activism efforts and to the Rayne Foundation for its support the Little Prince initiative!

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One Common Priority: A Clean Jerusalem

“Our standards of what is and isn’t a clean city have gotten confused,”  Said our Tal Kligman in this Hebrew article, published on the popular Ynet web site. She continued, “when residents from other cities visit me and say, ‘See how dirty it is here,’ I don’t see it. For me, it’s considered clean. But the truth is that the ground beneath the garbage can on the street isn’t supposed to be black. We, residents of this city, want a clean city.”

'Garbage Tour' in central Jerusalem

‘Garbage Tour’ in central Jerusalem

As we’ve noted herehere, here and here, the Little Prince – Cleaning Up Jerusalem Together is using trash to bring people together.  Orthodox, secular and Haredi Jews, Christians and Muslim Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians – all wish to see a clean Jerusalem and all are struggling with the current reality. The Little Prince seeks to empower residents from all sectors to work together and within their own communities to make Jerusalem a clean city.  The goal is to build broad networks on the grassroots as well as professional and political levels that can solve problems on both a one-time and system-wide basis.

Concentrating on different areas in central Jerusalem

Concentrating on different areas in central Jerusalem

Over the past year and a half the Little Prince – Jews and Arabs from across the ethnic and political spectrum – has been working to raise awareness about the need for a clean Jerusalem.  They have even succeeded in making the subject one of the main issues discussed in the upcoming Jerusalem mayoral elections.

Discussing issues of sanitation and a clean city

Discussing issues of sanitation and a clean city

Last Saturday night, 15.9.18, we held a ‘Garbage Tour’ of central Jerusalem for activists and for mayoral candidates. Nearly all the candidates or their representatives took part. All promised to take steps to improve the situation. Residents who led the tour stressed a number of crucial points, including: changing the definition of what is considered clean, taking responsibility for a clean city, expanding infrastructure, increasing enforcement, changing the organizational culture with regards to having a clean city, and changing the city’s image. In addition to the ynet article, the tour was also covered on the Hebrew-language Kipa web page, which targets the Orthodox public.

All mayoral candidates signed the Clean City Platform

All mayoral candidates signed the Clean City Platform

In addition to the Garbage Tour we, together with our partner activists in action, have written a Clean City Platform, which summarizes the main points needed to improve cleanliness in the city, and all of the mayoral candidates have signed! The Platform holds the mayor responsible for sanitation in the city, through the allocation of resources, through supervision and enforcement, through education and awareness raising for all residents of the city. The Platform raises the standards for accepted levels of sanitation and cleanliness in the city. Here’s a few pictures of candidates signing the Platform:

Minister of the Environment and Minister of Jerusalem and Heritage, Ze'ev Elkin

Minister of the Environment and Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, Ze’ev Elkin

We also have a picture of former Deputy Mayor Ofer Berkovitz signing:

Ofer Berkovitz signing the Clean City Platform

Ofer Berkovitz signing the Clean City Platform

And a local Haredi weekly newspaper did an article on Haredi mayoral candidate Yossi Deutsch as he signed the Platform:

Yossi Deutsch signing Platform

Yossi Deutsch signing Platform

Here’s the Hebrew Facebook post from the Little Prince Facebook group:

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of our effective activism programs!

 

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MiniActive Youth – Doing their Part to Improve the Environment

Not wanting to be outdone by the boys, recently MiniActive youth – teenage girls group – began work in the area of the Central Arab Library in Wadi Joz.

Working together to improve the garden

Working together to improve the garden

They cleared the leaved and dry grass.

First, they needed to clean up the area.

First, they needed to clean up the area.

The filled areas with sand and covered them, forming a solid base.

Building a base for????

Building a base for????

They painted tires and filled them with sand, which will be used for planters.

They never get "tired" out!

They never get “tired” out!

These girls are not only decorating, they have also had an important hand in designing the plan, together with a trained landscape designers.

Yet another example of MiniActive youth working toward a better environment in East Jerusalem!

Here’s the original Facebook post in Arabic:

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation and Natan for its continued support of MiniActive!

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The Little Prince Makes Headlines

The Little Prince is making headlines, bringing garbage to the front lines of public discourse.

A few weeks ago, activists’ work  – Haredi, Palestinian and religious and secular Jews – was featured on the front page of the weekly local Hebrew newspaper, Yediot Yerushalayim.

"We're Sick of a Dirty City" says the headline

“We’re Sick of a Dirty City” says the headline

“Our activities as residents fighting for a clean city caused the Municipality to understand that it needs to invest in that area,” said our own Tal Kligman in the article, speaking after an agreement was signed that increased the municipal budget for sanitation by NIS 10 million. “Our role isn’t to clean instead of the municipal sanitation workers,” Tal explained in the article. “It’s to cause the Municipality to make sure that it’s clean here. For that purposed we [the JICC] brought together residents from all over Jerusalem. Now we have ambassadors in every neighborhood in the city [including Haredi and Palestinian neighborhoods] who report problems, and together we try to work those problems out. Sometimes we meet to plan face-to-face, sometimes we use social media.”

The article tells about initiatives in Haredi neighborhoods such as Meah Shearim, Bucharim and Bayit Vagan (where residents held a meet-up breakfast for local sanitation workers and their managers, trying to solve problems together and improve sanitation). It tells about initiatives in ‘general’ Jewish neighborhoods such as Gonenim, Gilo, Pisgat Ze’ev and Ramot. It tells about the horrible situation in East Jerusalem, and of MiniActive’s efforts over the past 6 years to effect change.

As we’ve noted herehere and here, the Little Prince – Cleaning Up Jerusalem Together is using trash to bring people together.  Orthodox, secular and Haredi Jews, Christians and Muslim Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians – all wish to see a clean Jerusalem and all are struggling with the current reality. The Little Prince seeks to empower residents from all sectors to work together and within their own communities to make Jerusalem a clean city.  The goal is to build broad networks on the grassroots as well as professional and political levels that can solve problems on both a one-time and system-wide basis.

Here is the link to the online article.

Bravo to everyone who worked to advance the article.

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MiniActive – Empowering Boys as Well as Girls

Since 2012 our MiniActive project has been empowering Palestinian women – and their families and communities – throughout East Jerusalem. For the past few years we’ve also been empowering teenage girls‘ along those same principles.

And now, the boys working to improve the environment

And now, the boys working to improve the environment

Now it’s the boys’ turn.

Near the Arab Central Library

Near the Arab Central Library

In June we began 2 new groups for boys, called “Youth Power,” each group with about 10 boys, aged 10 – 14. One group is from Kafr Aqeb, and the other group comes from throughout East Jerusalem, such as: A-tur, Silwan, Beit Hanina, Issawiya, Ras el-Amud, Shuafat.

They start by cleaning the area

They start by cleaning the area

Like the girls, they’re working to improve their environment. Each group is focusing on different projects.

Not forgetting any details

Not forgetting any details

One group is working beside the Arab Central Library in Wadi Joz. The second group is also having clean-up operations in their neighborhood.

Cleaning in different parts of East Jerusalem

Cleaning in different parts of East Jerusalem

The boys are also learning English.

Learning English experientially

Learning English experientially

Much of the intensive work is taking place during the school summer vacation, but the program will continue into the year – improving the environment with their hands, studying Hebrew, and more.

Great work!

Here’s a short video of the boys in their English class:

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

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation and the Natan Fund for their continuing support of MiniActive.

 

 

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Celebrating a Year of The Little Prince

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” goes the quote that is most often attributed to world-renowned anthropologist, Margaret Mead.

And this was said without knowing Jerusalemite activists. The only difference between Jerusalemite activists and Rottweiler dogs is that eventually,  Rottweilers ease up….

Picture with everyone

Assessing how far we’ve come

On Wednesday, July 11, the main core of Little Prince – Cleaning Up Jerusalem Together activists –  some 70 Palestinians, religious, secular, ultra-Orthodox Jews – got together for a joint meeting. It wasn’t just any joint meeting. It was to celebrate the first full year of activity of the Little Prince project, and to assess where we’ve come, and where we’re going. Many thanks to Muslala, which provided the perfect ambiance for the meeting and the work groups afterward.

Another picture with everyone

Strategizing on where we’re going

It was exciting to see all of Jerusalem’s sectors represented, from at least 10 neighborhoods. It was exciting to see the cross-sector cooperation within and between the different work groups.

Small group 1

Activists broke up into small groups according to project

The members broke up into 4 work groups: Supervision and Enforcement, Sanitation Policy and Infrastructure, R & D, and Education and Awareness-raising.

The conference belonged to the different activist groups, and even though it was a rare opportunity to meet most of the current candidates in the Jerusalem mayoral race (in alphabetical order) – Mr. Ofer Berkovitz, Rabbi Yossi Deutsch, Minister Ze’ev Elkin, Adv. Yossi Havilio, and of course Acct. Moshe Leon. The candidates were polite and according to prior agreement with them, listened to the activists, without giving “opening remarks” or talk during the main session. It showed respect for us and for them. None of them left without promising (of their own accord) to make Jerusalem a symbol of a clean city in Israel, and that it’s top priority for them. The Jerusalem activists will be there in the following months – and afterward – to make sure that this commitment is heard again and again, and is eventually translated into clear outcomes, no matter who wins the mayoral race.

small group 2

Work emphasized cross-sector cooperation when beneficial

There were a lot of points and ideas that were written in the work groups. In light of the conference a Cleanliness Platform was written, which will be signed by all the mayoral candidates. We would like to thank everyone  who showed the activist power of Jerusalem, which can be an excellent resource for the Municipality and the mayor, if they know how to work with them.

small group 3

All to clean up Jerusalem – together

It never ceases to amaze us how a process that was begun by a group of Palestinian women from East Jerusalem (see MiniActive’s ‘We won’t live in filth!‘ campaign) spread to all sectors throughout Jerusalem, leading to this tidal wave force of activism for a clean Jerusalem!

Leading up to the conference we made a short video:

 

Here’s the original Facebook post summarizing the conferece:

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support for developing activists in Jerusalem!

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Living Safer, Living Longer in the Palestinian Community

This past month, our Living Safer, Living Longer program, which empowers residents to take control of preventive health and safety in their homes, became fully operational in all sectors of Jerusalem society. We discussed here about the development of the project, and here about the Haredi and general Jewish sectors. Now, the project has begun in earnest in the Palestinian sector as well.

Living Safer Living Longer in Beit Hanina

Living Safer Living Longer in Beit Hanina

Here are some pictures of the program in action, where program participants are presenting the principles of the program to seniors clubs throughout East Jerusalem.

In Sur Baher

In Sur Baher

So what did our MiniActive volunteers think of the Living Safer Living Longer course itself? Here are some of the things they said:

“I learned a lot of things I didn’t know before.”

“I saw I needed to do a lot of things in my own home [and now it’s much safer].”

“The program’s gotten under my skin, and I talk about it everywhere I go.”

“I try and convince a lot of people I meet to make their homes safer, and I even go with them to buy safety aides and help them install them in their homes.”

“The meeting with the firefighter saved me from a large fire in my own home. A fire broke out while I was frying food and I knew what to do and acted in a cool headed manner.”

At the end of the course each volunteer received a demonstration kit with the program’s logo, and a training certificate (with a picture!). Each kit included a number of safety aides, such as: a smoke detector, safety plugs for electrical outlets, safety closures for cabinets (to prevent access to dangerous materials), a door stopper (to prevent doors from slamming on hands and feet), as well as checklists for preventive health tests and home safety.

Here are some more pictures from a home safety lecture:

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their support of the MiniActive program, and an anonymous donor for its support of Living Safer, Living Longer.
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Let’s Boast a Minute about MiniActive Youth

As the school year winds down and children and youth get ready for summer vacation, we wanted to take a minute to boast here about the astounding successes of our leading youth program, MiniActive Youth. We’ve reported about them here and here in the past, but it’s always worth an additional mention.

Working in Jebel Mukaber

MiniActive Youth at work in Jebel Mukaber

One of MiniActive Youth’s important achievements over the last year has been the transformation of a bus stop behind the A-Sala’ah School for Boys in Jebel Mukaber. This was no regular bus stop. It was and still is the main place that hundreds of school children were dropped off before school, and waited after school. Before the youth began work, it was dark and dingy, and areas next to it were filled with junk and garbage. After months of contact and follow-up, we engaged the municipality to help clean up the ad-hoc garbage dump. But the youth did most of the work.

They recently made a movie about the whole process. Enjoy! We certainly did.

 

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation and other donors for their continued support of MiniActive.

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0202 Coming Full Circle – West Jerusalem News in Arabic

We’ve updated over the past 3 years about the progress of the web site and Facebook platform 0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem, which we’ve been mentoring as part of our Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance. The overarching goal of 0202 is to make Jerusalem’s vastly different populations accessible to one another and the world by encapsulating news and community events and translating and explaining them to the ‘other.’ All without commentary or political agendas.

0202 Showing all sides of Jerusalem

0202 Showing all sides of Jerusalem

It started with 0202 – A View from East Jerusalem, which translates news and Facebook sites read by many Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem into Hebrew. This amazingly popular Hebrew Facebook page has become the go-to resource for journalists and city council members, and even East Jerusalem residents themselves, looking for a daily digest for news.

0202 A View from East Jerusalem

0202 A View from East Jerusalem

It then moved on to 0202 – A View from Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jerusalem, which brought news items from Haredi print newspapers and web sites to the general Jewish public, items never before made available to religious and secular Jews.

0202 A View from Haredi Jerusalem

0202 A View from Haredi Jerusalem

The next step was 0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem in English, which summarized both pages above in English on a daily basis. It also translated articles and posts from ‘general’ Jewish West Jerusalem, enabling English-speakers to view all of Jerusalem in one click.

0202, the English page

0202, the English page

The last page, which launched earlier this month is 0202 – West Jerusalem in Arabic, which summarizes local and national news items and translates them into Arabic. Here’s the link, take a look!

0202 new Arabic page

0202 new Arabic page

The new page was covered on the Mako Hebrew news site. You can read the article here.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation, the UJA-Federation of New York, the Leichtag Foundation and the Natan Fund for their ongoing support of our efforts to promote tolerance in Jerusalem, and to the Natan Fund, the Leichtag Foundation and the Rayne  Foundation for their specific support of 0202.

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Jerusalemite Day of Diversity in the World Capital of Tolerance

This is the third year that 80 tolerance events took place over 36 hours of Jerusalem Day – events that were created by activists who care for the city, who are happy for its diversity, and who want to celebrate Jerusalem Day in a way that expresses the soul of our city, with grassroots messages of Jerusalemites, by Jerusalemites and for Jerusalemites. Together, we proved again that Jerusalem is not a mixture of political and religious slogans hanging above our heads, but a city that’s been blessed with a broad and interesting human diversity. These events proved that Jerusalem is indeed the World Capital of Tolerance…And if you’re an activist for tolerance from anywhere in the world and want to get to know a bustling and effective community that influences the entire city – you should come to Jerusalem, and almost every day you’ll have something to see, someone to meet and something to learn.

This is how our Michal Shilor, Coordinator of our Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance, described this year’s Jerusalemite Day of Diversity in her column in the weekly Hebrew-language newspaper, Yediot Yerushalayim. She further summed up the day in a Jerusalem Post article:

Jerusalemites are taking responsibility for Jerusalem Day…there is a different way to celebrate and mark Jerusalem Day, and that there is space for all opinions and all people in this city.

And in this Times of Israel article Michal noted:

We’re creating a new narrative for this city. It isn’t perfect, but it’s all from a huge range of people who live here and create this day together, tagging it as a city of global tolerance, and we’ll become known for that.

Talking and doing tolerance on Jerusalemite Day

Talking and doing tolerance on Jerusalemite Day

Indeed, this year marked another successful year for the Jerusalemite Day of Diversity, which took place on Jerusalem Day, May 13. For the third year running, we, together with hundreds of activists and thousands of participants, brought Jerusalemites back into the equation on Jerusalem Day. The day featured:

  • 36 hours in which our city was decorated with hope, tolerance, special encounters with those whom we usually do not meet
  • 80 events that were initiated, created, participated in and enjoyed by you,
  • thousands of Jerusalemites from all groups in the city,
  • as part of the 500 events that advance tolerance throughout the year.

So what did we have? We had Jerusalemites’ in the Living Room, where a wide range of Jerusalemites – from an American journalist to a member of the Eidah Haredit to a formerly racist soccer fan who now works to build intercultural bridges:

American journalist Sarah Tuttle Singer tells of her experiences in Jerusalem

American journalist Sarah Tuttle Singer tells of her experiences in Jerusalem

And we had tours – of the hidden Muslim cemetery in Independence Park:

Tour of the hidden Muslim cemetery, with Emek Shaveh

Tour of the hidden Muslim cemetery, with Emek Shaveh

Of the Old City of Jerusalem:

Learning about the Old City with Eran Tzidkiyahu and Ir Amim

Learning about the Old City with Eran Tzidkiyahu and Ir Amim

There were Postcards from the Soul at the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem, where people of all backgrounds created postcards with different languages:

Making postcards in all languages at the Tower of David

Making postcards in all languages at the Tower of David

Along the light rail there were several pop-up events, such as a debka dance group at Safra Square – Municipality:

 

A singing group at Davidka Square:

Singing tolerance in Davidka Square

Singing tolerance in Davidka Square

And a short video of them in action

 

Pop-up mediation from Mosaica:

Learning real-life mediation tools

Learning real-life mediation tools

Of course we can’t forget the parades – the Flower Parade, by Tag Meir:

Distributing flowers instead of hate

Distributing flowers instead of hate

And the Jerusalem March, organized by the Yerushalmit Movement, which brought together hundreds of Jerusalemites on the Railway Park:

Marching along the Railway Park

Marching along the Railway Park

Jerusalem resident Ahuva Lebor, in the above-mentioned Jerusalem Post article, mentioned:

This city is a city of love, a city of community, a city that is respectful, and this [the Jerusalem March] is the best and most respectful march where you see real love for Jerusalem.

After the Jerusalem March, participants gathered at the First Station. Later that evening the outdoor tent was filled to the brim with Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Believers Festival.

At the Believers Festival

At the Believers Festival

And here’s more from the “Believers” Festival at the First Station on Sunday night:

 

Educator and activist Carmiel Frutkoff commented that:

Ending the day with hundreds of Jerusalemites who deeply care for this city and its diversity, was exactly what I needed to survive the day…They say that one small candle, can give enough light to rid an entire room of darkness, just imagine what hundreds of good and compassionate people can do to our city…

Here’s his full post on Facebook:

Sunday evening also featured the Creating Tolerance: A Jerusalemite View Conference at the Reut School, which featured members of the community, MKs, and Jerusalemite activists.

Listening to different opinions at the Reut School

Listening to different opinions at the Reut School

Hechal Shlomo at the Great Synagogue also joined in the festivities, with a gallery discussion on its “This Too is Possible” exhibit, which included both Jewish and Arab artists.

From the This Too is Possible exhibit

From the This Too is Possible exhibit

Rounding out the festivities was an open mic night at the Abraham Hostel:

Open mic night at the Abraham Hostel

Open mic night at the Abraham Hostel

We’ve gotten rave reviews from many people. City council member Elad Malka wrote:

We Jerusalemites know that we live here [in Jerusalem] because of the differences and diversity and not despite them. That is why it’s so important for us to live in this city. Other places are just too boring.

Here’s his Facebook post:

Others said:

Without you none of this would have happened, and it definitely would not have become a tradition, especially not in the quality and quantity [of events and activities]. Thank you, and thanks to the general public and to all the ambassadors of tolerance of Jerusalem!

Here’s the Hebrew post:

Indeed, this year we found exactly how much Jerusalemites treasure this diversity. We recent polled Jerusalemites, which was covered by the Mako Hebrew-language news site (associated with the Channel 2 TV news station), and which showed that:

  • 82% of Jerusalemites are happy that there are different groups in the city;
  • 82% feel it’s important to meet people different from them, and 96% report that they do in fact meet people who have a different religion or nationality than them on a daily basis.
  • 70% wouldn’t have a problem living in the same building with someone from a different sector.
  • 95% of the respondents noted that they would help a person in need, even if he / she was from a different religion.

Everything was documented and updated on the Jerusalem Tolerance web site. This year there were more than 350 clicks into the site on Jerusalemite Day!

Leading up to the day two videos were made, this one, by spoken word artist  Chen Amram:

 

And this one, filmed in the popular Mamilla Mall and Old City market:

 

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation, the UJA-Federation of New York, and the Natan Fund for their continued support in working to advance tolerance in Jerusalem.

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