Israel allocates $2.48 million to Jewish Agency school program

Jewish Agency's Global School Twinning Network pairs Israeli schools with Jewish schools in the Diaspora.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Schoolchildren with teacher
Schoolchildren with teacher

The Jewish Agency for Israel announced that the Israeli government will allocate up to 9 million shekels ($2.48 million) in the coming years to its Partnership Unit’s Global School Twinning Network, primarily to fund the expansion of the groundbreaking educational initiative that cultivates Israel-Diaspora connectedness.

The Global School Twinning Network, which successfully operates on The Jewish Agency’s Partnership2Gether Platform, provides hundreds of schools in Israel and worldwide with living, breathing connections that transform Israel and the global Jewish people from abstract concepts into tangible realities. School twinning changes the way students and teachers perceive their roles as members of an international Jewish community, fosters dynamic dialogue on Israel and Jewish identity, brings Hebrew alive and more. In the 2017-18 school year, the network included more than 600 schools, some 50,000 students and 2,000 teachers.

By enabling the School Twinning Network to evolve into its new format and expand to 500 additional educational twinnings between Israeli and Diaspora schools, Israel’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Diaspora Affairs are aiming to not only enrich the experiences of Israeli students and teachers, but also to deeply understand the relationship towards Israel in overseas schools and communities. In addition to its main purpose of bringing school twinning to new schools across the globe and in Israel, the government’s investment will also support the development of new pedagogical and curricular resources, online teacher training, branding and more.

The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Diaspora Affairs are bringing the new twinnings to students in grades 4-10, with the goal of twinning becoming an even greater part of participating schools’ fabric and culture through parent-teacher association sessions and other gatherings that feature discussions on global Jewry and Israel-Diaspora relationships. Both Ministries view the impact on Israeli students and teachers of equal importance to that of its impact on Diaspora participants.

Since its inception, the network has worked in fruitful cooperation with the Ministry of Education enabling it to grow its expansion and depth, however this marks the government’s first monetary investment in the school twinning platform. Ultimately, Israel intends to provide a total of NIS 9 million ($2.48 million) for the network.

In many cases, school twinning is integrated into a community-wide P2G relationship. P2G is The Jewish Agency’s strategic initiative that connects 46 city-to-city and region-to-region partnerships. Through hands-on projects and personal interactions that engage 350,000 Israelis and Jews each year, individuals and communities learn from one another and experience the enriching reciprocal benefits of being part of the global Jewish family.

At the same time, a growing number of school twinnings are taking place in communities outside of P2G in the former Soviet Union, Latin America, and Europe.

“The Ministries partnership and investment in the School Twinning Network is an important recognition that the program is impactful on students and teachers in both Israel and the Diaspora,” said Andrea Arbel, Director of Partnership Unit at The Jewish Agency. “Twinning brings the ethos of partnerships and Jewish peoplehood to schools around the world, and it is extremely gratifying and exciting that the State of Israel will partner with us to take this initiative to the next level.”