Yeladim — Council for the Child in Placement

Boiling water together

“Gam Etzleynu Kacha”
— “It’s like that for us too”.
That phrase is repeated constantly
at programs for Jewish and Arab teens living in residential homes in northern

The two photographs show

Jewish children from a residential home in the town of Karmiel, with Israeli-Arab
children from the town of Tamra, together on a camping trip.

Bringing Israeli Jews and Arabs together
to break down myths and other pre-conceived ideas is a formidable task in
what is rapidly becoming a war torn and tired country. From the news one
might think nobody is communicating, all the cross-cultural programs are
breaking down and the strides that have been taken over the past decades
are for naught. Fortunately, for some, that is a myth.

Dialogues and discussion groups are
continuing. At times creative programming and program alterations are required
to maintain and continue groups, however the will exists and continues to

Baking pita bread on a
taboun [oven]

Yeladim, the Council for the
Child in Placement,
seeks to create mirror opportunities for children
living in residential homes to those living with their families. Raising
the next generation to become responsible and view their neighbors as well
as themselves with respect and to forge lasting friendships are major goals
of this organization.

In the north, joint recreational programs
for Jewish and Arab children living in residential homes help bring kids
together. The programs which began in 1995 and continued through 2001, were
halted due to a lack of funding. The programs for children, sometimes with
and without their parents enabled them to have fun together and to begin
to build relationships.

The participants came from residential
homes in Jewish and Arab small towns in the Galilee: Haifa, Ibillin, Carmiel,
Kiryat Biyalik, Maj El Krum, Kfar Yehezkiel, Rama and Tzippori. Program activities
include fun days in amusement parks, hikes, sports, art, cooking, and theater

Joint sponsorship came from the Haifa
Municipality, non-profit organizations, foundations, corporate gifts and
private donations. Unfortunately the funds have run out, and the kids are
losing out.

As the programs progressed, serious
discussions took place dealing with how we are the same, and issues that
confront us.

The program was summed up by Anis,
one of the children who participated in the program: “We are the same. Although
we have different customs and religions, we are truly alike. We even share
the same problems. I want the relationship that began here to continue. Maybe
we can even visit one another in our dorms and homes. Peace doesn’t only
come from above, it is built between people, and especially between children,
because we are the future.”

Local volunteer families are needed
to act as foster/adoptive families for 14-16 year olds living in residential
homes. Volunteer families help these adolescents learn to live in a family
atmosphere. The kids come to live with the families on weekends, holidays
and 1/2 of the summer vacation. To get involved in this and other programs
of Yeladim., contact Yeladim.

Text: M. Kaplan-Green. Photos courtesy
of Yeladim.

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E-mail Yeladim.

64 Pinchas Rosen St.

Tel Aviv 69512

Tel: 03-647-5075

Fax: 03-647-5076

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