Hand in Hand Continues to Shine and Light the Path Toward Jewish-Arab Coexistence in Israel




I recently received a progress update from the Hand in Hand bilingual Jewish-Arab schools in Israel. The schools’ current total enrollment is approaching 800 children, and there is more growth ahead:

* The Hand in Hand Galilee School , which had been in temporary quarters for several years, recently moved into its new campus in Ashbal. Co-founder Amin Khalaf comments: "We have been waiting for years for this to happen and it was a real celebration yesterday with the children, staff and parents as they began their first day in the new school building. We are planning to organize a grand opening in the fall."

* The Max Rayne Hand in Hand Bilingual School in Jerusalem is being completed and there will be an opening celebration on Oct. 21,2007 organized by the Jerusalem Foundation.

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* Hand in Hand is moving ahead with a local parents group in Beer Sheva to open a fourth school with pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes. Funding for this project has come from USAID’s second grant to Hand in Hand.

* Hand in Hand has printed the curriculum for the programs that they have developed on bilingualism, land use, religion, identity, history and bilingual education in early childhood. Amin comments– "I believe this will contribute greatly to a more unified school approach in these areas and will also reach others."

* Hand in Hand has been awarded the 2006 Lombardia Region Peace Award ( Italy) which the organization will receive in June.

* The third annual Victor J. Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East has been awarded to Hand ni Hand co-founders Amin Khalaf and Lee Gordon for their work in building Hand in Hand.

* Hand in Hand co-founder Amin Khalaf has received the 2007 Martha Lobe Prize for Democracy, Dialogue and Tolerance from the Jerusalem Foundation in recognition of his work in promoting Jewish-Arab coexistence and mutual respect in Jerusalem through bilingual, integrated childhood education.

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