Rarely does the Jerusalem Inter-Cultural Center agree to help creating community dialogue outside Jerusalem. The condition for such an involvement is the presence of local professional assets who can empower and facilitate the process. In Lod, Orit Yulzari, the municipality community worker, is supported by the JICC in creating a multicultural forum in the city. In the last two years, with our consultation, Orit succeeded to form a vivid group of local leaders and professionals from almost all the identities in the city: Muslims, Christians and Jews, all religious denominations -including Ultra-Orthodox, and almost all immigrant groups and ethnicities. On October 27, this group met for the first time with the Mayor, who was assigned to the post by the Ministry of Interior following the dismissal of the non-functional elected council. The forum members, who filled the Mayor’s chamber, updated him about the forum and suggested to make use of this asset in solving issues and tensions in the city. They also proposed to make Lod the first Cultural Competent City in Israel.
The Mayor, after meeting with the forum members, said how happy he was to see such an effective and diverse group in the city and asked if the forum would agree to meet with him monthly to discuss the many local issues related to identities and inter-cultural rifts. He asked Orit to write up a proposal for the forum’s work in the city and for its cooperation with the city council. He was especially interested in the Cultural Competent City idea and asked for a written proposal. Following an approval by the city council he would be happy to lead such a process.
The forum will soon discuss its meeting with the Mayor and based on this development decide upon its next steps.