The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Youth and Art Education   Community projectsBridging the gap  
Bridging the gap
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A  project in which Jewish and Arab youth create together

Bridging the gap is supported by the Association of Friends of the Israel Museum in Germany 

 

The Jewish-Arab Art Course has been operating for 18 years in the Ruth Youth Wing of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Joint sessions for the youth of both peoples permit participants to forge real personal ties and integrate universal human values. These informal sessions are offered to Jewish and Arab pupils from West and East Jerusalem. Producing art together at the Israel Museum facilitates the bridging of gaps heightened by stereotypes, culture, and years of conflict between the two peoples. A place of art and culture, The Israel Museum represents secure ground which supports connection and the ability to accept the other. This project, which raises the banner of tolerance and mutual understanding, may plant seeds within these youngsters that develop into a future peace between them.

 

How does it work?

The project takes place in the Ruth Youth Wing of the Israel Museum. The project includes 20 biweekly, two-hour sessions.

  • Transportation to the Museum is provided.
  • Light refreshments (a sandwich and beverage) are provided at the opening of each session.
  • Sessions take place in Youth Wing classrooms and in Museum galleries, thus combining creative activities and tours of the Museum.
  • Instruction is provided by Jewish and Arab artist-educators from the Youth Wing staff.
  • Jewish and Arab organizational advisors guide the staff in addressing personal and national issues which arise among the pupils and the staff.
  • The participation of translators assists in overcoming language barriers.
  • A steering committee, consisting of principals from Jewish and Arab schools, and the Head of the Ruth Youth Wing and the Senior Art Courses Curator of the Ruth Youth Wing in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, oversees the project.
  • In 2009, research was conducted to evaluate this project. The results of the evaluation will be published within the current school year.

Workshops provided in conjunction with the project, over the years

Mask-making with plaster bandages
In order to enhance trust, pupils created face masks from plaster bandages on each other's faces – Arab on Jew and Jew on Arab. They then created the wearers' personal traits on the masks

Art inspired by a visit to the zoo


To introduce work about animals and enhance the closeness of the group, we took a trip to the
 zoo and sketched animals.

Totem craft
To complete the year, we created totem poles with animals, inspired by the animals that we saw. Each Group of three pupils created a few animals together. The animal elements were placed one atop the other to create totem poles.
  
Artistic response to the Arab-Jewish conflict

 

 

During the first session which followed a military campaign in Gaza, we invited pupils to create graffiti-like works on large plywood boards, in which they expressed their feelings about the campaign. When they were complete, we talked about what they felt and painted.
12-year olds; Teachers: Hanan Abu Hussein, Ruwan al-Hawa, Tzipi Zohar, Anat Chanes

 

 

 

A joint meal


In order to provide pupils to become better acquainted with one another, we created a joint meal based on the favorite dish of each participant. We created these dishes from oil-based modeling clay (plastilina) and painted plaster, and set them on a large table. 


Animal-Chairs Workshop
Working in pairs, we created imaginary animals on chair bases. 
 

 

 

  

Creation of an Ideal City
We created a model of the city of Jerusalem in which we dream of living. In our city, there was an amusement park, a neighborhood of tree-houses, homes made out of candy, an airport, a sea with sailboats, and lakes with swans floating in them.