The Hadassah Foundation supports Merchavim’s Arab Teacher Integration in Jewish Schools Initiative, which places Arab Israelis trained as teachers—the vast majority of whom are female—in Jewish Israeli schools. This program aims to reduce the high level of unemployment of female teachers in the Arab sector, address a shortage of teachers in Jewish Israeli schools, and promote intergroup relations.  One of the teachers served by this program is Faten Jebara, who teaches English to students in grades 2-6 at the Shaked School in Ra’anana.

“My experience has been wonderful and empowering – I can’t see myself moving from this school although I often get offers from school principals at Arab schools – I wouldn’t change my job for the world. I am a type of ‘role model’ that proves that if you work tougher you can build relationships, learn about a person and make a change in people’s mindset….The children’s parents have given me great trust and believe in me. You might think that some of them would have issues with an Arab teacher teaching English with an accent – but these issues have never been a problem… I am really making a difference to the kids, they have less stereotypes and see Arab citizens in other roles in society (other than construction workers, cleaners etc.) and see that relationships and friendships are precious and are above our social groups. The kids come to me and feel free to discuss their concerns and ask questions (about my religion, customs, etc.) and find in me a confidant. The job is demanding but I am more than satisfied professionally and personally.

Merchavim accompanies me, and all the integrated teachers in Jewish schools, the entire way. Teachers get great guidance, hands-on tools and professional coaching on how to deal with work in the classroom, [and] situations that arise with integrating into the school community.”