We All Live in Jerusalem

We All Live In Jerusalem
Jerusalem is a city that elicits strong emotions on all sides, and during this difficult summer, tensions rose even more. People felt deep despair and a loss of hope, sometimes leading them to blame “the other.”
The Jerusalem Intercultural Center (JICC) rose to the challenge, and greatly expanded its work to fight increasing xenophobia, violence and racism in the public sphere. The JICC was founded by the Jerusalem Foundation in 1999 and is a critical partner in creating a city of shared living and understanding.
The JICC hung hundreds of 3’x2’ banners on public announcement boards all over Jerusalem, reminding us that we are all living in Jerusalem and it belongs to all of us. They were written in ten (10!) languages: Hebrew, Arabic, Yiddish, Russian, English, German, French, Spanish, Amharic and Tigrinya (spoken by many African refugees and asylum seekers). The JICC also brought together groups that are working to calm incitement and violent acts in and around Zion Square in downtown Jerusalem, helping them to discuss next steps, develop better dialogue tools, and make sure that activities are safe.
The JICC is working behind the scenes as well. They met with key municipal and police officials to help define culturally sensitive and effective responses. They are also working with government authorities treating youth at risk, especially those in downtown Jerusalem who are especially susceptible to violent and racist behavior. In addition, they conducted intercultural workshops in workplaces that employ both Jews and Arabs.
In the Arab community, the JICC’s ongoing work with the network of 600 women in the MiniActive program helped to minimize negative stereotypes and perceptions. This included continual posts on its Facebook page that were free of hateful language, which  sent positive messages to its 6,300 subscribers, 4,200 of whom are Arab women from east Jerusalem aged 18-34, a full 10% of the women in this age group in the city.
The work of the JICC inspires us and gives us hope. We believe that with a great deal of cooperation and support, we can, and we are, making a difference. Click here for more information about the JICC.​