Haaretz Editorial on Dirasat Report: A civics lesson | | Political and Legal Attacks on the Palestinian-Arab Minority in Israel | | Arab educators in uproar over plan to study Begin and Ben-Gurion - Haaretz, 18.6.12 | | Netanyahu's housing reform ignores Israeli Arab communities, says new research (Haaretz, 29.3.2012) | | Conference Highlights the Importance of Higher Education for Arab-Palestinians | | Housing in Israel: The Unique Situation of Arab-Palestinian Citizens | | Position Paper: Arab Students and Higher Education - Problems and Challenges (Hebrew) | | Sensitive and small-scale (by Avirama Golan) | | Dirasat Releases a Publication on Arab Education’ | | Policy Statement: Lieberman’s support for ‘Population Exchange’ | | Establishment of an Arab Pedagogic Council | | Old problems, new challenges | | Arabs have no choice but to build illegally | Dirasat Releases a Report on Psychometric Exams | | Study reveals tax collection in Arab cities on the rise 0 | | Dirasat in Focus: Education as a Case Study0 | | Who's afraid of educated Arabs? (Haaretz, 24.7.09): 0
About Dirasat
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Background

DIRASAT’s Overarching Goal

Rationale

Vision Statement

Mission Statement

Goals and Objectives

Strategies and activities

Guiding Principles

Dirasat in Comparative Perspective

List of Board Members

Staff

Establishing group

Recent Activities

Contact Us




Press Releases

Media Reports

Disparities in Socio-Economic Status
Disparities in Education

Disparities in Education (Hebrew)

Educational TV Program on the Arab Minority (Hebrew)
AFTER THE RIFT: New Directions for Government Policy towards the Arab Population in Israel (2000)English | Hebrew
Cancel the Minimum Age Requirements!
- UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities

- UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


Reports of Human Rights Watch
IDENTITY CRISIS: ISRAEL AND ITS ARAB CITIZENS (ICG, 2004)
Back to Basics: Israel’s Arab Minority and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (International Crisis Group, 2012)

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Recent Activities

(August 2010)

 

Introduction

Dirasat continues to grow and develop organizationally while deepening our impact.  This has taken place in accordance with our initial vision of how Dirasat can operate as a force for social change and promote the struggle for equal rights for Arab-Palestinian citizens in Israel.  Many of our projects are now moving from the applied research stage to the advocacy stage.  Simultaneously, our work is increasingly attracting the attention of community leaders and lay people within the Arab-Palestinian community and receiving recognition on the national level. 

To date, over 1,000 people have participated in tens of public events, including academics, educators, political and civil activists, mayors, members of the Knesset, lawyers and teachers.  Leading academics and professionals – both Arab and Jewish – are regular participants at our round tables.  We have published tens of research papers and continue to deepen partnerships with local and international organizations, further establishing our organizational credentials. 

In the recent period, Dirasat has substantially increased its visibility from within the Arab-Palestinian community, in part because the Arabic media regularly covers our activities.  Public knowledge and support of our initiatives has a number of positive impacts; it unites the Arab-Palestinian community behind proposed reforms (such as increased tax collection and changes in Arab teacher training), it builds consensus for new initiatives (such as the establishment of the Arab Pedagogical Council) and it prepares the groundwork for large-scale civil rights campaigns.  Furthermore, widespread exposure of this nature attracts leading academics, professionals and community figures to our events, further contributing to the quality of our outcomes and increasing the likelihood that they will be implemented widely. 

Our main priorities are currently: 

  • Improving Arab education in general and Arab teacher training in particular  
  • Improving governance of Arab local councils
  • Providing professional support for the newly established Arab pedagogic council
  • Publishing our annual yearbook
  • Promoting higher education for Arab young people while breaking down barriers to access for entrance into such institutions
  • Building a database on the Arab community in Israel
  • Promoting Arab women’s integration into the job force

 

More detail about activities conducted during the second half of 2009 and the first half of 2010 are below.

 

A.     Improving Arab Education

Arab education continues to be a primary focus for Dirasat because enhancing education will improve Arab-Palestinian citizens’ access to rights and advance the community socio-economically.  During the past year, we made significant progress in advancing Arab teacher training and were proud to take an active role in the official launch of the Arab Pedagogic Council.  We are also increasingly exploring issues of higher education for Arab-Palestinian students. 

Arab Teacher Training

The Arab Teacher Training initiative has made substantial progress.  Not only has infrastructure been put into place, we also held three major events and published initial findings which will guide the next phase of activities.

The initiative was officially launched at a conference held last November in Nazareth.  Some 50 people attended including teachers, headmasters, heads of education departments at Arab local councils, academics and leading educators.  A panel discussion on “The Policy of Arab Teacher Training in Israel: Situation Report and Recommendations" was followed by a lively discussion and constructive interaction between panel members and participants.  Their input, comments and feedback provided Dirasat with important insights into the initial research and shaped our pilot paper on Arab teacher training.   

Following the conference, Dirasat formulated and published an overview of the issues along with suggestions for further directions in need of pursuing.  Publication took place in early 2010 in Arabic, Hebrew and English, under the title “Arab Teacher Training in Israel: Overview and Policy Recommendations.”  Our findings were warmly received by policy makers, NGOs and prominent education professionals and we regularly receive requests for copies of our findings.

Most recently, we have been engaged in advancing the research phase.  Dirasat’s call for research proposals was issued in February.  In addition to being advertised on university and college list-serves, it was also distributed to senior researchers and academics throughout the country via the National Research Authority.  Significantly, this is the first time this Authority has distributed a call for research from the Arab sector, thus granting Dirasat and its work important legitimacy and exposure.  The first round of calls for proposals concluded with the submission of 12 concept papers.  Following an in-depth review process, in late June, the researchers attended a study day where they spoke about their proposed topics of research and discussed Arab teacher training in general.  At that time a final group of 10 researchers, both Arab and Jewish, were selected.  

Simultaneously, we worked to strengthen relationships with teacher training colleges and build the groundwork for future partnerships.  To this end, Dirasat staff met personally with the leadership at Beit Berl College and the al Kasimi College.  At Beit Berl some initial joint activities have already taken place; on May 11th, Dirasat held a round table discussion entitled “Educational Policy in Israel: Current Situation and Challenges.”  Additionally, Dirasat continues to work with academics in these colleges to meet their own development needs..

This project is already garnering media attention; several items were published in the Arabic press, positively contributing to the discourse on these issues – and setting a new media agenda for Arab teacher training. 

 

Arab Pedagogic Council

On July 12, The National committee of the Head of Arab Local Authorities and the Follow-Up Committee on Arab Education announced the establishment of the Arab Pedagogic Council.  Dirasat’s Director of Research, Prof. Muhamad Amara has been elected to serve as its Chairperson.  This announcement is the culmination of several years of discussions and meetings among influential educators and activists, both Jewish and Arab, lead by Dirasat and the Follow-Up Committee on Arab Education. 

The new Pedagogic Council for Arab Education is a voluntary group on 30 Arab academics and professionals.  It aims to promote educational policies appropriate for the Arab-Palestinian community.  Specifically, it will initiate an examination of the curriculum currently in use and revise and tailor it in accordance with the linguistic and cultural needs of the Arab-Palestinian community.  We hope it will be recognized by the Ministry of Education and will be working with our all of our partners and supporters, in academia and government, in order to further this goal. 

Dirasat will continue to be actively involved in this endeavor, primarily advising on potential legal structures necessary for its recognition.   We will also lead initiatives aimed at conducting applied research in key areas and will sponsor discussions intended to advance Arab education and educational policy.

 

 

 

B.     Local Governance

Local governance is one of the primary ways in which Palestinian citizens in Israel are impacted on a daily basis as local authorities are the primary channel in which locals access socio-economic rights (such as education, social welfare, economic opportunity, housing, etc).    Severe financial difficulties encountered by such councils and the crisis in services that resulted, has led to a number of initiatives aimed at improving their functioning.  Dirasat’s unique contribution to this fundamental issue is in the area of applied research and policy papers.  To date, we have commissioned five studies whose initial findings are currently undergoing consolidation and fine-tuning.  We have also begun to prepare research for distribution to the public and educate key individuals about the findings.  

We commissioned five different research projects from individual experts on the following topics: the history of local councils and their management challenges, tax collection, desirable qualifications for leadership, the influence of the clan system in local authorities and the role of financial crises and ways to counter them.  Together, the researchers are also examining relative success stories to glean lessons and recommendations which can inform the work of other local councils.  Initial findings of these research projects were summarized and featured in our 2009 Dirasat yearbook.  The paper on tax collection, in particular, received very wide media coverage and an extremely positive response on the national and local levels demonstrating the impact such research can have on policy and practice.

Our 2009 yearbook was completed in time for a major national conference held by the National Committee of Arab Local Authorities (NCALA).  This three-day gathering was attended by some 50 local Arab council heads along with major figures from national government including the Ministers of Welfare, Education and Interior.  Conference organizers dedicated over two hours at the beginning of the gathering to examine our research.  Four of our primary researchers presented each major study area.  This was followed by the opportunity to ask questions, request additional information and examine the topics in more depth.  We found that our presence, participation and presentations at the conference were very important; we spoke directly with mayors and council heads who showed a great deal of interest in our work and encouraged us to continue with this project and similar initiatives.  The opportunity to be featured at this central gathering helped us to build relationships with these same local leaders who will be instrumental in implementing proposed recommendations.  

The findings (in Arabic), as published in our yearbook, have been distributed extensively.  About 100 copies were given to local council heads and their staff at the NCALA conference.  We also provided copies to civil society organizations, local policymakers, journalists, activists, academics and universities throughout the Palestinian community in Israel.  People continue to request this information and we are currently undertaking a second printing.  Dirasat’s specific contribution has been in the provision of research-based and in-depth knowledge on specific issues related to council functioning.

Since this time, we have focused on educating the Arab community about our findings.  Findings have been covered extensively in the print and electronic Arabic media which helps to channel discourse about this issue onto new and more constructive paths.  Our research team also frequently fields requests for information and consultation.  We believe that this process will expand and deepen in the coming months and we intend to work intensively with specific local councils to tailor our findings to their needs.  Similarly, we are in the final stages of formulating policy papers in Hebrew for the project’s two leading papers - a study of tax collection by Dr. Rafik Haj and an investigation of building and planning by Adv. Kais Nasser.  Our findings have already been highlighted in the Hebrew press.  In addition to planning a study day on these papers, we will continue to work on Hebrew drafts of the other papers.  

In order to ensure coordination and the development of best practices related to management of local councils, Dirasat has taken an active role in the establishment of a coalition of Arab-Palestinian organizations working on this issue.  Regular meetings provide opportunities for partner organizations to share information.  For our part, we update participants about our activities, present our findings and facilitate discussions about the research.

  

C.     Other Projects and Activities

Arab Women’s Employment:

 

Arab women face significant geographic, cultural, educational, linguistic and other impediments to integration into the workforce.  In 2006, the population of Arab women in Israel between the ages 18-64 was 350,000.  Their participation in the labor force was only 22.1%.  In contrast, the percentage of Jewish women participating in the workforce was 71.3%.  This has serious socio-economic ramifications while presenting formidable barriers to advancement for women and their families.

To date, we have identified 10 leading applied researchers and specialists in the area of Arab women and Arab women's employment.  They participated in a round-table seminar held in Nazareth in October, 2009.  Following the event, each researcher prepared a final research plan for submission and inclusion in the overall research program.  We hope to begin the research phase of this project soon.

Dirasat Yearbook:

 

Our 2009 yearbook highlighted articles on the management of Arab local councils.  Seven articles, many focusing on research topics outlined above, were published.  Three Dirasat papers were published on the following topics: Arab teacher training in Israel, the psychometric exam and youth at risk.  Additional articles examined Arab students in Jordanian universities, Jerusalem as an internal immigration destination and private sector service provision in Arab Society.  We interviewed Prof. Kwala Abu Baker- the first Arab woman in Israel to be awarded a professorship.  She discussed the unique challenges faced by Arab-Palestinian women in Israeli society.  The publication, and its subsequent media coverage, generated much positive attention.  We believe that this annual publication is becoming a major resource for information and policy positions in relation to the Arab-Palestinian community in Israel. Dirasat’s 2010 yearbook, scheduled for publication at the end of 2010, will focus on higher education for Arab students, an area of increasing importance for Dirasat.

In addition to our on-going activities, Dirasat hopes to increase knowledge in relation to the use and status of Arabic in Israel, along with establishing itself as a source of comprehensive, reliable and up to information on the Arab minority as follows:

Prof. Muhammad Amara is leading an initiative to investigate Arabic in the education system and the public sphere.  In order to promote this research, we co-organized two events.  The first was a study day held in Nazareth in February whereby Prof. Amara presented the outlines of the research and then participated in a discussion with educators, community activists and academics on the topic.  Similarly, in March, we were invited by the Arab-Bedouin city of Rahat in the Negev to engage in a discussion on the topic; it was attended by tens of activists from the south.  The events helped us to create joint recommendations for Arabic within the wider Arab community within Israel and within public sphere as a whole. 

We believe that access to updated, high quality and relevant materials will improve the ability of Arab-Palestinian professionals to meet the needs of the community.  As such, we aim to establish a comprehensive date-base of information on the Arab minority.  We have begun to collect relevant academic works and hope that, with the necessary support, we will be able to intensify this process.

  

D.        Public and Academic Involvement

Our staff are regularly invited to participate in academic and policy forums and are frequently contacted for consultation on various issues related to the Arab minority in Israel and the Palestinian people in general, both nationally and internationally.  Of special note are two opportunities: 

In late April, Dr. Jabareen was invited to Berlin to speak about current political challenges in Israel with special focus on the role of civil society in dealing with these challenges.  He was joined by Avirama Golan of the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz.  His visit was sponsored by the Goethe Institute and organized in cooperation with the Heinrich Boell Foundation.

Also in April, Dr. Jabareen spent five days in Brussels as a guest with the EU Visitors Programme.  Throughout the course of this short but intense visit, he participated in 12 meetings and was introduced to nearly 20 high ranking EU professionals in a wide variety of EU units.  They provided him with substantial knowledge of various EU bodies and institutions.  This trip will enhance Dirasat’s process of partnership building and enable us to fine-tune our work to make it more in line with the interests of the EU and European partners.  With the support of the EU, such opportunities ensure that the issue of the Arab-Palestinian community in Israel remains on the international agenda. .  

Our board and staff members regularly receive invitations to participate in, and present at academic forums, public events, panel discussions and more.  This increases our visibility bringing to the fore issues of concern to Dirasat and the Arab-Palestinian public with decision-makers and other influential parties.

Within the Arab-Palestinian community, staff members frequently attended events of significance.  These included civil rights gatherings, marches and protests of a more political and activist nature along with cultural events such as book readings.  These less formal contacts contribute also ensure that Dirasat’s activities and priorities continue to be driven by the pressing needs of our constituents.  





P. O. Box 3190, - Nazareth 16131 - Tel: 972-4-6083333, Fax: 972-4-6083366 - Email: dirasat.aclp@gmail.com