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6 September 2021

Dear Friends, 

Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year – begins tonight, bringing with it a year of new opportunities and growth. In the midst of trying times, we would like to share with you the hard work that has been happening in educating communities about life in East Jerusalem and mobilizing them to action.

We wish all those celebrating this holiday season a sweet and happy new year and an upcoming easy fast. May this year be filled with health, peace, and the closeness and comfort from loved ones that we've been missing.

Ir Amim Staff

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, Ir Amim's Public Education and Outreach Department has been working at full force and successfully carried out numerous educational programs over the course of this past summer. 

At the end of July, the seminar titled “The Land Beyond the Hills” took place for 20 educators – representing both formal and experiential educational frameworks. Facilitated in cooperation with Breaking the Silence and Combatants for Peace, the seminar aimed to deepen knowledge among participants of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the occupation. Most importantly, the seminar provided educators with the tools to successfully convey this content in a variety of educational settings.

This was the third time that this course has taken place. 

The backs of a group are seen gathered under a tree
Participants in "The Land Beyond the Hills" seminar, August 2021.
Over the course of August, Ir Amim launched its fifth round of educational seminars geared towards harnessing the Haredi (ultra-orthodox) community for peacebuilding efforts in Jerusalem. The group consisted of 15 participants – both men and women – who attended several workshops in addition to a two-day seminar, complete with tours and challenging discussions with different speakers. Topics focused on various struggles facing residents of East Jerusalem ranging from education, planning and building, and the neighborhoods beyond the barrier, as well as discussion on the religious perspectives of the conflict. Many were surprised to learn of the shared struggles between the two communities, which can be utilized as common ground to forge grassroots peacebuilding efforts.
The third and final seminar of this period wrapped up last week – this one for young activists who either live or have lived in Jerusalem. The seminar’s goal was to enhance participants' knowledge of life in East Jerusalem by providing them with more tools, projects, and connections to deepen their work. 16 individuals took part in this course.
Participants sit in a semi-circle at a lookout point
Participants in the young activists' seminar at a lookout point over East Jerusalem, August 2021.
In addition to the seminars, we have continued to take local Israelis on study tours of East Jerusalem, exposing them to the realities on the ground.

Over 40 people participated in a tour with Field Researcher, Aviv Tatarsky, to Batan al-Hawa, Silwan where nearly 80 Palestinian families are at risk of eviction from their homes by a state-backed settler group. Yael Moav, our Tour Coordinator took another 40 participants – all licensed tour guides – on a continuing education tour geared towards expanding the tour guides' knowledge of East Jerusalem. 

Despite the lingering COVID-19 regulations, we have successfully reached over 150 participants with meaningful study tours and educational seminars (online events notwithstanding). We look forward to the year ahead and hopefully welcoming all of you back to Jerusalem, in person.
A group stands on a street next to a sign saying "Pool of the Sultan"
Participants on a tour in Batan al-Hawa listen to Aviv Tatarsky speaking. August, 2021

Paricipants sit, masked, on a bus
A bus full of tour guides listens during a continuing education tour, August 2021.
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