A few weeks ago I was privileged to visit the Arab Israeli Art Class in the Israel Museum’s Youth Wing.
The Arab Israeli Art Class serves as a bridge between the two cultures. The classes are taught by seven Arab and Jewish art teachers, along with Arabic and Hebrew translators and followed closely by professional advisors. Every week, the children work together to combine a balance between the world of art and the social world which each child comes from.
I watched as these students from schools in Jewish West Jerusalem and Arab East Jerusalem joined forces to complete their year-end project. The children were covering massive cylinders with papier maché – each taking the form of some sort of animal.
I was intrigued by some noise at the back of the room and came upon an Israeli girl and her Arab partner debating whether the background for their papier maché butterfly should be blue or green – was it flying in the air or lying on the grass?
With the help of a translator each defended her own point of view. In the end a decision was reached. I honestly cannot tell you if the background was going to be blue or green – this was not important to me. I was touched by the mutual respect and willingness to listen to each other and work together toward a solution.
Through the medium of art the children learn to respect one another’s differences. Through creativity, art, and tolerance, these children are making a difference.
For more information about the Arab Israeli Art Class and other initiatives please contact us.