Language ‘speed dating’ brings Israelis and Palestinians closer
About 20 students meet weekly for the class
They rotate every 20 minutes to the sound of a whistle
and try to bridge the Hebrew-Arabic language gap
in a city with deep political, religious, and cultural divisions
(SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) MAYA GIZ, PROJECT CO-FOUNDER AND CO-MANAGER, SAYING:
"Palestinians in Jerusalem don't study Hebrew in school, in any way. And it's the same for Israelis - if they do study Arabic, it's an Arabic you can't use. Therefore, we came up with this initiative, you can call it a civil initiative, that directly meets this need of the ability to communicate with each other in each other's language. Out of this, the real important thing emerges - the meeting and the acquaintance."
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SAHAR MUKHEMAR, PROJECT CO-FOUNDER AND CO-MANAGER, SAYING:
"The reason I wanted to create this thing, I felt this need within me personally, was the absence of the Hebrew language within Arabs for many reasons. For example, if they need to go to a hospital or mall or just need to get by with the language. So I felt this need within me when I learned Hebrew, I saw that the students themselves need to practice the language and not only learn it, and from here came the idea to address the need for language exchange, Arabs and Jews together."