Hand in Hand is building inclusion and equality between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel through a growing network of bilingual, integrated schools and communities. Launched in 1997 with 50 children, Hand in Hand now enrolls over 2,000 students in seven schools from Jerusalem to the Galilee. Hand in Hand was established to combat one of Israel’s greatest existential threats: the growing social alienation and lack of trust between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. We believe that education is key in changing this.
Hand in Hand schools are public schools, recognized and overseen by the Israeli Ministry of Education, and open to all parts of the Arab and Jewish populations in Israel. This government funding is partnered with philanthropy and parents fees, which enable our specialized bilingual, multicultural curriculum and community activities.
Our trailblazing path of shared education and living is fostering a new generation of Arabs and Jews who are equipped to live together in cooperation and respect. The curricula in Hand in Hand schools are based on the values that reflect both cultures and languages, oriented in multiculturalism and shared and equal citizenship. In our bilingual educational model, Hebrew and Arabic have equal status, as do both cultures and national narratives.
Our thousands-strong adult community members come together in celebration, solidarity, and dialogue. These community activities are geared towards parents, staff, and other active citizens who are interested in taking part in a shared community. We believe that it is not right to lay the burden of creating a shared future on the shoulders of our children. We, the adults, must lead the way. These adult activities are an inseparable part of our work towards building shared society.
In the 2020-21 school year, we have seven schools and communities: Jerusalem, the Galilee, Wadi Ara, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Beit Berl, and Kafr Qasim with 2,000 students. There are 3,000 active adult community members, who impact over 10,000 Jewish and Arab citizens. And we are growing. With over 1,200 students on waiting lists this year, and groups of parents in new locations asking for new schools, Hand in Hand proves that shared living is possible, it is real, and it is happening throughout Israel right now.