Teaching Peace to the Next Generation
Baseless hatred is one of the most serious issues facing Israeli society today. To combat this issue, Bnai Zion Foundation has donated the Tolerance Classroom at David Yellin Academic College of Education, which hosts classes that teach students of all walks of life to love and respect those of different backgrounds.
“I was genuinely shocked when I walked into a class of Jews and Arabs studying together and analyzing both Torah and the Qur’an. One Arab student stated, ‘We found we have more things in common than we do differences.’ That one sentence gave me so much hope for the future of Israel, and the Middle East.”— Steven Matsas, Journalist and Editor of Jewish Image Magazine
Bnai Zion and David Yellin College are working to create a more inclusive, tolerant Israel. Students come to David Yellin Academic College of Education from all walks of Israeli life and will go on to educate children of all backgrounds. One major goal of this partnership is to establish a curriculum that promotes ideas of peace, tolerance, and coexistence to better Israeli society. The College, established in 1913, has 5,000 students reflecting the full spectrum of Israeli society, across religions, economic statuses and nationalities. Approximately 20% are Arab Israelis, and the college has dedicated programs for new immigrants from Ethiopia and other countries.
Baseless hatred is one of the most serious issues facing Israeli society today. Its effects are widespread and damaging, ranging from ugly words and discrimination to hate crimes and terrorism. The only way to ensure that this terrible hatred will end is if future generations learn that we all have more in common than we have differences, and that we should celebrate our differences and treat them as opportunities to learn. Through David Yellin College’s tolerance programs, future teachers learn the importance of valuing and respecting each other’s cultures – and through it, how to love and value those who are different from them. They then pass those values on to their own students, who are children from all walks of Israeli society, so that together they can create a brighter future for Israel.
Every year, all of the second-year students at David Yellin College take part in the “Variance and Variety in Israeli Society” program, which includes a course and several workshops tackling topics related to pluralism and cultural differences in Israeli society. The lectures are enhanced by visits from experts, researchers, and field operatives related to the field of study. Additionally, students can choose to join the Beit Midrash/Madrasa Project, where students study and discuss holy texts from the canons of Judaism and Islam, including the Hadith & Qur’an, Talmud & Torah, and later commentaries by Jewish, Muslim, and Christian writers. This course, facilitated by two lecturers, one Muslim and one Jewish, creates a unique academic and cultural dialogue between participants.