Friday, November 7, 2008

Co-existence in Practice in Haifa

I visited an educational institute this week for the purpose of checking out its suitability for co-existence projects to be filmed by my Taiwanese journalist friend who is based here in Haifa. Se is based in Haifa to film different aspects of life here.

I was amazed at the number of programs covering such a wide field. The education center is called Leo Baeck and has been established in Haifa for 70 years.

In the mission statement, it refers to the need developing the students to the needs of a developing Israeli society, the community and for the individual, also educating for understanding and mutual tolerance.

The center caters for over 3000 students in six different programs. Although the Haifa population has around 20% Arab (of which 13% are Christian and 7% Moslem), there are approx 900 Arab students in the centers various programs representing 30% of the students.

In addition to the direct education programs, there is a community center and social outreach with 11 satellite branches around Haifa. These branches deal with
- serving the Ethiopian community
- reaching out to children at risk
- after school care for children at risk
- a center for the elderly
- Arab Jewish summer camps
and many others

The school has students from all walks of life in the City, Jews, Christians, Moslem and Druze.

I will be visiting the school again shortly and will write in more detail about some of, what I feel, are exciting programs which are varied and promote the concept co-existence in such a positive way

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