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Advancing Jewish-Arab Equality and Coexistence

12 August 2010 By New Israel Fund


Advancing Jewish-Arab Equality and Coexistence
Amiram Goldin of Shatil

The son of Holocaust survivors, long-time peace activist Amiram Goldin has a lifelong ambition to see Arabs and Jews in the Galilee learn to live and work peacefully together.  After moving to the Galilee in 2000, Amiram was shocked by the plight of the Arab citizens there: "It was a big issue that made me decide – either I stay here and work for change or leave with no hope."  Two years later, the unthinkable happened: Amiram’s son, Omri, was killed in a terrorist attack.  For Amiram, this tragedy strengthened his resolve and dedication to co-existence, reinforcing the belief that it is crucial to the country's future.

“The easiest way to keep going on with your life is to want revenge.  But all our life we have been involved with the peace camp in Israel.  All our life we have gone everywhere we can to encourage and keep up the peace process -- and Omri was always with us.  So we didn't change our ideas… we thought that it was our duty – like a will from him – to continue to be very active about peace and compensation and equal rights to all the citizens of Israel.”

In 2002, Amiram founded Neighbors for Joint Development in the Galilee, a non-profit organization made up of professional architects, urban and regional planners, engineers, environmentalists and mediators, Arabs and Jews, who work together to advance equitable planning and development in the Galilee.  

In 2007, he joined Shatil, the New Israel Fund’s Empowerment and Training Center for Social Change Organizations in Israel, to head Shatil B’Galil (Shatil in the Galilee) in Rosh Pina, created to specifically empower civil society in the north and foster Jewish-Arab relations in the North.  Today, Amiram continues his involvement in Shatil as Coordinator of the Acco Jewish-Arab Taskforce for Shared Society.

Shatil (“seedling” in Hebrew), New Israel Fund’s Empowerment and Training Center for Social Change Organizations in Israel, was established in 1982 to strengthen civil society efforts and promote democracy, tolerance, and social justice in Israel.  Each year, Shatil provides close to 1,400 nonprofit organizations with consulting, training, coalition-building assistance and other services.  In addition, Shatil reaches out to disadvantaged populations–new immigrants, Arab Israelis and residents of development towns–to help them realize their rights and play an active role in determining the policies that affect their lives.