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Shared Society

In recent years, the atmosphere in the mixed neighborhoods has become one of a conflict over the character and nature of those neighborhoods. In the context of this conflict, numerous controversies pertain to public buildings in the neighborhood, kindergartens, schools and events held on Jewish holidays and during Saturdays in the public space of the neighborhood. These controversies produce a sense of alienation and estrangement among the various population segments in the neighborhoods and deepen the gaps and rifts between them. This issue has become a challenge at the national level as well.

At the same time, all of the population segments in the mixed neighborhoods understand that a way must be found to build a common community life. This understanding presents challenges and opportunities for joint activity based on a recognition of the needs of each of the population segments in the neighborhood, and consideration of the different, diversified needs.

The neighborhood leaderships and the activists operating in the neighborhoods constitute a substantial, important force in working for the common good. Our concept maintains that an involved group of activists can initiate the appropriate dialog that would constitute the infrastructure for joint brainstorming regarding strategic solutions, for bridging the gaps and for converting the human diversity of the neighborhood into an engine for its growth.

The Shahaf Foundation, in partnership with the Russell Berrie Foundation, developed an intervention model titled "A Neighborhood for Everyone" that is currently being implemented in the Qiryat-HaYovel neighborhood of Jerusalem, bringing together all of the local population segments – secular, religious and orthodox. The goal is to convert this neighborhood in conflict into a neighborhood for all.

This model is suitable for duplication and is relevant to any mixed neighborhood or town, where different sectors – Jews and Arabs, secular and religious and so forth – live side by side. The Shahaf Foundation can monitor and support the local authority and develop a model adapted specifically to its needs and to the needs of the various population segments.

We regard this as a success and a message to mixed neighborhoods and towns, and as a source of inspiration for the entire country.

Click here for the Neighborhood for Everyone Model

"Establishing connections between different population types and bringing them together contribute to the mending of rifts and to the bridging of gaps and promote tolerance and solidarity. These values produce the tools required in order to deal with violence and racism and help in finding the broad common denominator and implementing it in the hope for a better future.

"Encounters, joint activity and dialog have a positive effect on the resilience of society. To develop a society with a social and national resilience, the individuals making up that society must possess a sense of belonging and social cohesion. They must feel that the society they belong to treats its individuals with respect and equality. A willingness on the part of the individuals in a society to put their personal interests aside in favor of the collective interests" (Amit & Fleisher, 2005)

“It can be a bit complex to live in a mixed neighborhood, for example with the education of the children. On the other hand, it's fertile ground to talk about things. That's the power of this neighborhood. When kids grow up with more people and more worldviews, it's very healthy. It's a challenge that becomes a profit – to become bigger, to see things, to ask questions, to evolve”.

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