Living Together

About the Living Together Program

Israeli society is a diverse and complicated mix of Jews, Arabs, Christians, Bedouins and Druze as well as refugees from many countries around the world.

Somehow, all must learn to live together, but more often than not, Israelis choose to live within their own closed communities. In many instances, ignorance and distrust leads to tension, violence and conflict, which, once ignited, are difficult to dissipate. Children who grow up in regions of conflict are deeply affected by the rhetoric of violence, with each group developing negative stereotypes of one another.

Sport has the unparalleled ability to transcend barriers of language, politics and religion, and is a proven powerful tool for promoting tolerance, cross-cultural relationships and ultimately, peaceful coexistence.

Through joint sporting activities held for Jewish, Arab, Christian, Druze and Bedouin children, ITEC encourages children and families of these varied religions, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds to engage in constructive dialogue, set shared goals, and ultimately realize their commonalities. We promote understanding of the “other’s” culture and language, break down barriers between these children, enrich their lives and build bridges of peace in the region.

Over 300 children participate in Living Together programs at the following centers:

  • Akko
  • Beer Sheva
  • Jerusalem
  • Kiryat Shmona
  • Nahariya
  • Sajur
  • Tayibe
  • Tiberias

Abraham's Bridge

In a groundbreaking collaborative effort between ITEC and Arab leadership, new doors are opening across Israel. In the spirit of true cooperation, ITEC created Abraham’s Bridge to focus on creating, developing and empowering the next generation of Arab leaders within their own communities. The program uses ITEC’s proven method of implementing a mix of tennis and education as a medium to strengthen the bonds within all factions of Israeli society.

Learn More about Abraham’s Bridge

Abraham's Bridge

Twinned Kindergarten Program

In 2005, ITEC launched the Twinned Kindergarten Program in collaboration with the Peres Center for Peace, a leading coexistence organization founded in 1996 by then President of Israel and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Shimon Peres. The program aims to overcome the negativism in Arab and Israeli societies and facilitate coexistence by bringing young, impressionable children together on neutral ground at the Israel Tennis & Education Centers. The program brings children from Arab kindergartens and Jewish kindergartens together weekly on one court for joint sport and life-skill activities. Through these activities, the values of tolerance and compassion are instilled in the children at an early age and in their families through parent child activities.

Twinned Kindergarten Program

Doubles Coexistence

ITEC’s Doubles Coexistence Program, pairs an Arab child and a Jewish child as partners on the tennis court to encourage the children to interact on and off the court, thereby building a bridge between their different cultures. This multicultural project fosters dialogue, understanding and acceptance and promotes peaceful coexistence in the families and communities through tennis. The program combines tennis, fitness training, cultural enrichment activities and tournaments as means of facilitating trust and cooperation between Arab and Jewish youth and their families. The children also engage in sport psychology workshops facilitated by certified mental health professionals.

Doubles Coexistence

Esther Lynne Burnett Learning Together

The Esther Lynne Burnett Learning Together Program was developed in partnership with the Jerusalem Foundation and the Israel Tennis & Education Centers to promote mutual understanding between Jewish and Arab children by nurturing innovative joint learning initiatives. 60 children from the fifth grade participate in this program – a class of 30 children from a school in East Jerusalem and 30 children from a school in West Jerusalem. The children come together at the Ben B. & Joyce E. Eisenberg Israel Tennis & Education Center in Jerusalem for shared learning, promoting English conversational skills, tennis and educational/social games focused on learning English vocabulary, sharing hobbies, names of family members and more. Sport activities provide a platform to instill values and behavioral norms around topics like fairness, equality, violence prevention, tolerance and participants’ connection with their own communities. The Esther Lynne Burnett Learning Together program provides children with a unique opportunity to form intercultural relationships and friendships, in the classroom and on the court, in a region inundated with interreligious and political conflict.

Esther Lynne Burnett Learning Together