A novel concept puts Jewish children in Samaria in video contact with their counterparts in four Diaspora schools in Los Angeles, New York and Australia. The “twinning’ allows children to see each other as human beings without political discussions, explains Shomron (Samaria) Liaison Office director David HaIvri.
“The idea is to establish real human interest type of connections between Jewish communities and Samaria,” he explains. “Connecting school children with their peers is a great place to start. Too often anything that has to do with Jewish life in Judea and Samaria is ‘pushed’ into the political corner of any discussion. We have much more to offer than that.”
The “Israel Connect” program so far pairs four sets of schools: the Ramon school in Shaarei Tikva, located on the eastern border of metropolitan Tel Aviv, with Tiferet Israel in Los Angeles; the Itamar Talmud Torah with the Chabad Yeshiva school in Melbourne, Australia; the Yakir school with Yavne in Melbourne; and a school in Elon Moreh with one in New York. All of the Israeli schools, except the one in Shaarei Tikva, are located in northeastern Samaria.
“Through the students interacting and learning about each other’s lifestyles with no political agenda, a real human bond is made and that will help us in the future when we seek friends for the communities in this region,” according to HaIvri. “Programs like this make the issue of the Green Line irrelevant.”
The project was made possible through the Shomron Liaison Office in cooperation with Amichai Bennet of Israel Connect and the Los Angeles chapter of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). On a speaking tour several months ago, HaIvri meet with Los Angles Jewish educator Shmuel Azran, and the two worked out a plan to establish a twinning program for the schools.
Educators abroad who want further information on connecting with schools in Samaria can write: firstname.lastname@example.org