We are fostering a grassroots movement of understanding, nonviolence, and transformation among Israelis and Palestinians.
Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)
Founded in 2014, Roots-Judur-Shorashim is a joint organization of local Palestinians and Israelis seeking to create a culture of nonviolence, understanding, trust and transformation even within the persistent Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The only such organization in the West Bank, Roots is located in the Gush Etzion-Hebron area, a region which frequently experiences the pain of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Roots is working with people on both sides of the divide, creating a new discourse from within the very communities most at odds, through programs that reduce hate and fear, address injustices and foster mutual trust and resilient partnerships. Roots’ vision is to build a climate that honors the rights and connection of both peoples to the land, and provides freedom, dignity and civil rights for all its inhabitants.
Israeli and Palestinian teens in the West Bank are raised with strong respective
national identities and a powerful commitment to their individual communities.
Although they live in close proximity to one another, they rarely, if ever, experience
meaningful positive interactions. When a rare encounter presents itself, it is seldom
outside of a violent context. Thus, their worldview is typically one of us vs them—
seeing only an enemy and deeming their narrative illegitimate. The resulting hatred
and violence come as no surprise. Now in its third year, the Roots Youth Program brings together 40 Palestinian and Israeli teens for ongoing dialogue and relationship-building programming. The project aims to replace fear and enmity with a sense of partnership among West Bank Jewish and Arab youth and to instill a sense of empowerment so that they can become successful pioneers of change.
Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)
Our beneficiaries are local Israeli and Palestinian youth, ages 16-19, who would otherwise have no other place to meet. Mohammad, age 16 from a village next to Hebron, writes: ” Before anything else, I’ve never expected to meet Israelis one day, especially Israeli students who’re the same of my age, but I learned through these meetings that we can live together. I’ve made strong relationships with these peers, relationships that are based on the mutual love and respect.” Avital, age 17 from Neve Daniel, writes: ” I have next to no knowledge about them, and I find myself asking- Who are they? What’s their life like? How do they feel? All that I know is that there is a cycle of blood that continues more and more and affects our daily life and that I have a responsibility to take actions to battle this circle of blood. The right way to fight this battle I found in Roots Youth.”
How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)
At Roots we envision a social and political reality that is founded on dignity, trust, and a mutual recognition and respect for both peoples' historic belonging to the entire Land. At a time when both sides are convinced "there is no partner for peace," we have found otherwise. Despite living so close to each other, Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank exist in almost complete separation, and both sides have little knowledge of each other's lives or humanity. Stereotypes are generally just reinforced by exposure to only the aggression of the other; whether through media or personal experience of violence and trauma. Through our projects and workshops we create trust and partnership — the societal foundations upon which future political agreements can be built. Led by a joint Israeli and Palestinian staff dedicated to empowering our youth, our program is truly unique and the ONLY program of such kind in the area! It is the ONLY place where this youth can meet!
Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)
Full Scale Roll Out: I have already tested and scaled this idea significantly with the intended user base.
Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)
Roots is a unique network of local Palestinians and Israelis who have come to see each other as the partners we both need to make changes to end our conflict.
Organization Filing Status
Yes, we are a registered non-profit.
In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.
We saw that our youth - our future - simply does not have a place to meet and are actually so unfamiliar and afraid of each other, that our future looks terrible. We dicided to take action and be the change we want to see - and here it is - our youth group is flourishing!
Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)
Our staff, as well as our participants, are from the local Israeli and Palestinian communities and villages - real people on the ground, influenced daily by the terrible conflict. Our partners are them and thaie communities, their families, their friends who are all directly influenced by the work being done with the youth. Just recently we had a meeting with the parents from this years Youth Group, and we were blown away - they talked about how their children have learned in Roots to take initiative and responsibility, to study issues seriously and to grapple with them, and to see every person no matter what his or her origin, as created in the divine image and deserving of dignity.
Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)
Our top strenghth is that we are the ONLY such place in the whole region - there is no other place where Israeli and Palestinian youth can meet and talk about everything, war adn peace, dangers, fears, religion, identity and so much more. This is simly priceless and we are super proud of this!
Our center is on a piece of Palestinian farmland located between Jerusalem and Hebron.
How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)
We are starting our next Youth Group in September of 2018 - heopefully with 40 girls and 40 boys.
Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)