Learning to Live Together, Jaffa Style

Considering the political tensions and violent outbreaks throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories,  it is hardly surprising that relations between Israelis and Palestinians is at an all-time low.  Surveys show that Israeli-Jews regard Israeli-Palestinians (who are often referred to as "Arabs") with suspicion and 40 percent feel that they should be stripped of their right to vote.  Even from a young age,  Israeli and Palestinian youths have negative steretypes that fuel the political situation by representing the other side as treacherous and untrustworthy. 

As one of the few mixed cities in Israel today, the port of Jaffa on the outskirts of Tel Aviv is a perfect example of political uncertainty with its 20,000 Arab and 35,000 Jewish residents. With growing tension threatening to shatter the  peaceful co-existance in Jaffa, creating new programs to encourage greater understanding of both sides has become more important than ever. One of these new initiatives is the Arab-Jewish Class Exchange Program (CEP).  According to its Facebook page, the recently-founded program involves "helping Arab and Jewish youngsters in Israel learn together to promote mutual understanding, respect and friendship through joint classes in arts, music and drama at the unique Arab-Jewish Center in Jaffa."

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.

           

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