On the weekend of November 11th, our community will be privileged to host a delegation from Western Galilee called, “Women Leading a Dialogue” (WLD). The program is sponsored by Partnership2Gether (P2G) for Western Galilee. Many of you will remember that we hosted a similar group from the program in 2018. Their visit had a major impact on our community. That is why we are excited to host this delegation with a new cohort of women.
This unique interfaith delegation of fifteen women includes nine Jewish women and six Muslim women.
As we know, overall the non-Jewish population of Israel is about 20%. This includes Christian-Arabs, Druze and Muslim-Arabs. All are full citizens of Israel. Western Galilee is a highly diverse region of Israel where the percentage of non-Jewish citizens is much higher. We see this reflected in its public institutions like Galilee Medical Center. We also see it in the daily life of the region.
Western Galilee serves as a model for what peace could look like one day in the Middle East. Yet the region does face challenges, and coexistence is not something that can be taken for granted. In the summer of 2021, we saw widespread rioting in the mixed city of Akko, a clear sign that not all is perfect. The “Woman Leading a Dialogue” project was created to help address these challenges and strengthen what Israelis call, “Shared Society.”
According to the backgrounder provided by P2G, the goal of the program is, “to strengthen the bonds and encourage communication between various cultures and between the many groups in the Western Galilee: Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Druze.” The monthly dialogues sessions in which the women participate are geared to “… break down barriers and stereotypes, in order to develop strong relations between communities.”
The local itinerary for the visit of the delegation is being coordinated by the Parternship2Gether committee co-chaired by Cristyne Porile and Dave Ravitch with the assistance of staff members Shirlee Greenwald and myself. Host families have been recruited for home hospitality for the weekend.
On Sunday morning, November 13th, the Jewish Federation will host a community event we are calling, “Coexistence Café.” This event will serve as a wonderful opportunity for all members of our community to meet and interact with the delegation through meaningful dialogue about life in Western Galilee. (See upcoming advertisements for more details).
Members of our community can be proud of the support that our Federation provides for Parternship2Gether which supports meaningful and impactful programs like “Women Leading a Dialogue.”
Community Relations Director