This past summer, with the help of a Partners for Progressive Israel travel grant, I worked as a General Counselor intern with Project Harmony Israel, an English-language summer camp for Arab and Jewish youth. The camp was developed in partnership with “Hand in Hand”, the only integrated bilingual public school system in Israel.
Project Harmony offered me the opportunity to work with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian children. This experience opened my eyes to the tremendous difference between how Israeli children of different faiths relate to one another, in contrast with how many adults, and certainly politicians, of different faiths relate to each other. Initially, I had no idea regarding which of “my” children (my group consisted of ten to twelve children, 10-11 years old) practiced which religious tradition. We were not told their faiths prior to the program and the children did not self-segregate in any visible way. The children played and interacted with each other as any other “mixed” group of children would.