Path to Peace

Jewish Bedouin Daycare Center

After the death of Hanni Ullman, NEVE HANNA thought of an appropriate way to continue to promote the understanding among the peoples she had nurtured in her life. Thus was born the mixed boarding school for Jewish and Arab youth, which in addition to its educational tasks, aims to help people in financial, social and emotional distress

In September 2004, Path to Peace, the Jewish-Muslim Day Care Center, was opened for children from Kiryat Gat and Rahat. The first project of this kind founded in Israel. Both Hebrew and Arabic are spoken at the day care center, and the children are cared for by a Jewish educator and a Muslim educator.

The daycare center for Jewish and Bedouin children offers educational activities and also aims to help families in economic, social and emotional distress. This venture, based on cooperation with our Bedouin partners from the city of Rahat, aims first of all to empower children who have to deal with multiple social problems, but also aims to empower socially underprivileged sectors of society, offering equal opportunity to all and promoting international understanding.

Our vision for the NEVE HANNA Children’s Home is education for tolerance and the acceptance of the different.  These children are often treated by normative society with prejudice and suspicion and generally experience difficulties to integrate socially.  In consequence, they consider this attitude as the normative behavior and implement it in their daily relationships. We aim to change these patterns of behavior by means of education.  We have chosen to face this problem by exposing the children to another group who suffers from prejudice and discrimination – Bedouin teenagers.  We want them to learn in a playful and educational way, how to bridge over cultural and social gaps.  We hope that by doing so, we will reduce the fear of the other and encourage mutual acceptance and tolerance.

Golden Dove Award
Golden Dove Peace Award 

2015-16, Neve Hanna Children’s Home was presented The Golden Dove of Peace award, in recognition of its outstanding work in educating children in accordance with the principles of tolerance, democracy and love for the fellow man as well as its special achievements within the field of International Understanding between Jewish, Bedouin, Muslim and Christian communities.

Project Description: The Joint Jewish Bedouin Daycare Center Path to Peace serves 8 Bedouin teens and 8 Jewish teens from low socio economic and emotionally dysfunctional families who were referred to the program by social services. The teens arrive to the center daily and return home, remaining in their homes and attending regular schools. The center provides the teens with therapeutic and educational services.

Cooperation of the Families: An essential factor in the success of this venture is parents’ cooperation. They enroll their children in the daycare program as an active step toward a foreseeable change. They take part in a program designed especially for them, including joint parent-child-activities and future activities for parents only, aiming to bring together Jewish and Bedouin parents.

The Daily Routine: Children in the daycare programs arrive at NEVE HANNA after their school day has ended. The Jewish children come from Kiryat Gat, while the Bedouin children come from Rahat. They have lunch together and then start group activity. One hour is devoted to doing homework with the help of counselors. Children then go to individual therapy programs or join leisure time activities and courses. After dinner, children are driven home.

Goals: The daycare program offers therapeutic treatment and scholastic assistance to children with behavioral and social problems whose families struggle in addition with a variety of different hardships. The Jewish and Bedouin participants form bonds based on mutual respect, friendship and acknowledgement of the other. It is thus that the two groups are brought closer in the purpose of fighting bias, establishing a liberal worldview based on values of international understanding, tolerance and pluralism among children as well as adults.

We offer a large variety of therapeutic measures, such as art therapy, movement therapies, animal-assisted therapy, therapeutic horseback riding and psychological therapies.

We tailor a therapeutic program suited individually to the personality and needs of every teenager and parents at different stages of intervention.  The variety of therapies is an important factor in the healing process of these kids, and our success in raising funds will lead to the increase of therapeutic variety and frequency.

The kids need to be provided with fundamental learning and behavioral habits, and assisted in order to reduce the learning gaps.  As part of the daily routine the teens meet the professional teachers who develop individual learning programs for each child, including the remedial teaching and the acquirement of basic learning skills.  The proposed enrichment and tutoring is a critical measure to enable these children to integrate successfully into the educational system and in normative life.  In addition, as part of the therapeutic program, we established a join Jewish-Muslim Theatre group that incorporates dance, theatre and music activities that highlight the need for cooperation and mutual understanding, between the members, via methods of leisure and fun.

Project Goals:

  1. To provide a therapeutic framework, for Jewish and Muslim-Bedouin children from distressed and deprived families.
  2. To bridge the cultural and learning gaps through mutual learning about each other’s lives, and common aspects of the communities.
  3. To create an infrastructure for coexistence and mutual acceptance between Jewish and Muslim-Bedouin Israelis.