Arab woman
Arab woman iStock

The Abraham Initiatives will open a personal security course for Arab youth and women.

The course, which will be offered in various Arab towns and mixed cities, seeks to provide participants with knowledge and skills related to personal security, and to familiarize them with the authorities and services in this field.

During October, 10 courses opened in five locales: Acre (Akko), Lod, Majd al-Krum, Jisr a-Zarqa, and ‘Arara in the Negev. In each location two courses will be offered – one for youth and one for women.

Each course includes a total of 60 hours over 20 sessions. The Abraham Initiatives is funding the courses, which are run by experts from various fields, and include familiarization with the local police station, first aid, preventing accidents in the home and raising awareness of child safety, road safety, protection against sexual assault, self-defense, and more.

Ola Najami-Yusuf and Ruth Levin-Chen, co-directors of the Abraham Initiatives’ Safe Communities project, said: “Violence in Arab communities and in the mixed cities impairs the sense of security of Arab citizens, but they do not always have the necessary tools to take action. In addition to providing knowledge, the course will also help familiarize young people and women from Arab society with the authorities and services that address various aspects of personal protection and security.”

“The Police and the government must uproot violence and crime. But the change also needs to come from within society, and Arab citizens want to take part in this process. The personal security course, which will be offered in various Arab communities around Israel, provides the participants with tools for working in their communities.”

Sabrin Nashef, a resident of Jisr a-Zarqa who is the divorced mother of four young children, signed up for the course. Nashef explains that she is taking part in the course because of the lack of personal security in her community, which threatens the lives of all the residents. She heard about the course at a parents’ meeting at school and decided to join. She feels that the state authorities and the police act differently toward Arabs and Jews, and wants to work to combat this.

The personal security course forms part of the Abraham Initiatives’ Safe Communities project, which seeks to promote fair and effective police services for Arab citizens, to combat violence, and to enhance the personal security of Arab citizens in their communities.

The project seeks to achieve fundamental change in the character of policing for Arab citizens; to encourage dialogue between the Police, the local authority, and local residents; and to promote community initiatives to eradicate violence. The project operates in local authorities in which police stations have been opened in recent years, as well as in mixed cities facing the problem of violence in Arab society: Tamra. Majd al-Krum, Akko, Jisr a-Zarqa, Kafr Qassam, Lod, and ‘Arara in the Negev.

Local coordinators work in the field to enhance security, in cooperation with the local leadership, the police, and the community. The project also includes work to implement models studied in the field on the national level, through the state authorities and the national Arab leadership. Abraham Initiatives hopes that the course will make a tangible contribution to preventing violence in the communities in which it operates, and will improve the response to violence when it occurs.