Kafr Qasim Kafr Qasim School
Hand in Hand’s newest school, a preschool in Kafr Qasim, brings together Arab children from Kafr Qasim and Jewish children from neighboring Rosh Ha’ayin. Following in the footsteps of our Wadi Ara school, this is Hand in Hand’s second school located in an Arab community, and is an important step as we continue to break down barriers and cultivate new norms in shared education in Israel.
Even though these two communities are just a short 15-minute drive from one another, children there had no existing framework to meet one-another, let alone learn together side-by-side on a daily basis.
Our Kafr Qasim preschool integrates Hand in Hand’s co-teacher model, with both a Hebrew-speaking and Arabic-speaking teacher in the classroom. The program is fully bilingual, with children playing and singing in both languages. As a result of their daily interactions, the children’s language skills in both Hebrew and Arabic grow day by day. They learn about and celebrate Jewish, Muslim and Christian traditions and holidays, and are creating friendships that will continue to grow and develop throughout their Hand in Hand education.
As with our other younger schools, we plan to continue to grow this school grade by grade, each year, as our inaugural class graduates from preschool up through elementary school.
The driving force behind this new school is a grassroots group of passionate, highly motivated parents who envisioned a different future for their children. These parents organized and advocated tirelessly for nearly a year, despite the challenges of being in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, to open a bilingual, integrated school to serve their children.
“We live in a multicultural country, the more our children are exposed to other cultures from a young age, the more they will grow up with an understanding of how to relate to others. The thing that is most important to me that Aboudi will learn here is the ability to have a discourse that is rooted in tolerance, love, and acceptance of the other. These are things we need to cultivate from a young age.”
~Iyat Issa, founding mother from Kafr Qasim
As the parents start to build their new community, with the support of Hand in Hand’s communities department, they are already tacking difficult topics, especially concerning the significance and history of the school’s location – Kafr Qasim. This year, the Hand in Hand communities department organized a dialogue session for the Jewish and Arab parents, who, despite the challenges of the conversation, both recognized that this history will always be intrinsic to the school and their community. This dialogue also reinforced their commitment to building a shared community based on trust and cooperation.