Establishing better Jewish-Arab relations in Israel is an important and equally challenging component of peacebuilding in the region.There is, however, hope for a shared society of open dialogue and bridged barriers if people can look towards Northern Ireland as a model for reconciliation.
In an opinion piece for Forward, Director of Development at The Abraham Fund Initiatives Anton Goodman reflects on his experience visiting Northern Ireland. While not identical to Jewish-Arab relations in the region, the Northern Irish experience of conflict over national identity and religious differences resonates with the current situation in Israel. Specifically, Goodman traveled to see the region’s program titled Shared Education, which focuses on bridging school separation. By addressing divided narratives through education and starting the reconciliation process with young students in intergroup interactions, the Northern Irish have created a successful model for peace relations that Israel should follow.
In his piece for Forward, Goodman stated:
There is no one way to resolve the divided society within Israel between Arabs and Jews; it often seems intransient and remains overshadowed by the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However there is pragmatic hope that through learning from other experiences, and building compelling models for interaction, we can move ourselves a step forward in the conflict transformation process.
ALLMEP also looks towards the Northern Ireland peace process as a template for broader Israeli-Palestinian peace. Through the International Fund for Ireland, an institution which ushered in the Good Friday Agreement and sustained peace for over twenty years, Northern Ireland people-to-people programs received systematic funding to conduct their crucial work bridging barriers and building trust within the populations for over twenty years. The International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace builds on the inspiration of Northern Ireland to build the foundation necessary for a sustainable peace in the region.
Click here to learn more about the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.
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