Dialogue and Identity

Dialogue and Identity

Dialogue and Identity

About the program

The “Dialogue and Identity” program enables school students to deepen their acquaintance with their religious culture and tradition (Judaism, Christianity or Islam) and to expand their knowledge of the other’s religious culture and tradition. The program aims to promote understanding, respect and intercultural tolerance, and encourage the development of social and interpersonal skills in a multicultural society.

The program is the result of a joint initiative of the Rossing Center for Education and Dialogue and the Tali Education Fund.


Rossing Center for Education and Dialogue

Hussam Elias, Program Director hussam@rossingcenter.org

Hannan Haddad, Program Coordinator hannan@rossingcenter.org 

Tamer Khalfo, Project Coordinator Tamer@ed4change.org

Tali Foundation

Eva Halachmi, Program Director eva@tali.org.il

Ruth Binder, Program Coordinator rutidb@gmail.com

Why dialogue and identity?

The program operates on the assumption that we live in a complex society and that we must recognize and appreciate this complexity. It is the complexity and the difference that enrich our lives in Israel; they invite opportunities for learning and encourage positive values ​​such as democracy and pluralism.

The program works out of the belief that when we come to know others different from us, it is important to focus not only on what we have in common but also on learning about difference, recognizing and respecting it. We believe that prejudices, one-dimensional vision and stereotypes are products of ignorance, and that not only hatred and fear are created, but also disdain for other people and religions.

The Schools

25 schools from the north and the center of the country participated in the Dialogue and Identity Program during the 2019-2020 school year (800-850 Students and 52 Educators from the TALI schools and the Christian schools). The program was founded in 2006, and has been adopted and recognized by the Israeli Ministry of Education.

  • Don Bosco Elementary School – Nazareth
    TALI Oranim School – Yokne'am
  • Al-Wasafiya Greek Catholic School – Nazareth
    TALI Alona School – Amikam
  • Franciscan Sisters – Nazareth
    TALI Beit Chinuch Daliot – Yokne'am
  • Al-Mutran School – Nazareth
    TALI Ha'hita School – Zichron Ya'akov
  • Terra Sancta School – Nazareth
    TALI Korchak School – Kiriat Motzkin
  • Nazareth Sisters Elementary School – Haifa
    TALI Tidhar School – Yokne'am
  • Salvatorian Sisters Greek Catholic School - Nazareth
    TALI ORT Dafna Junior High School – Kiriat Bialik
  • St. John's School – Haifa
    TALI Kaduri School – Lower Galilee
  • Mar Michael Orthodox School – Jaffa
    TALI Tzukim School - Shoham
  • Terra Sancta School – Ramla
    TALI Yesodot School – Petah Tikva
  • Orthodox Elementary School for Science and Technology – Ramla
    TALI Itzhak Navon School – Hod Ha'Sharon

The course of the program

During the year, five sessions are held: four meetings are held alternately at the Jewish or Christian school, allowing students to host their friends, and one meeting takes place outside the school in the middle of the year. In the meetings, the children are exposed to the three religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – as both Christian and Muslim students study in Christian schools. The main activities revolves around religious and intercultural issues, common values, beliefs and opinions.

Each session begins with a short and festive reception followed by a day of joint activity led by the home-room and other teachers who have been trained in the program. The instruction takes place in a pair – a Jewish facilitator and an Arab facilitator – thus serving as a model for cooperation and dialogue.

First meeting: Getting to know myself and know the other. The students learn their names in Arabic and Hebrew, learn about the daily life of their friends and about the similarities and differences in their communities.

Second Session: Holidays. The encounter deals with the holidays of the three religions and focuses on the holidays that are celebrated in this season: Hanukkah, Christmas and Eid al-Adha / Eid al-Fitr (depending on the calendar).

Third meeting: social gathering outside the school

Fourth Encounter: Stories from the Sources. The encounter deals with stories from the texts of the three religions – the Midrashic literature, the New Testament and the Hadith literature – and focuses on the similar and different values ​​that arise from them.

Fifth Session: Life-Cycle Events, Summary and Separation. The participants learn about life rituals during the periods of birth and maturity, customs and traditions in different cultures and religions. Finally, they summarize the year of activity and separate from their new friends.

Dialogue and Identity
Dialogue and Identity

A meeting group of the class educators

During the school year, 2 teachers from each school participating in the “Dialogue and Identity” program, Jews and Arabs alike, receive training that provides them with the professional tools needed to facilitate the meetings. Apart from the facilitation skills acquired in the program, the teachers receive enrichment in the relevant content areas. The teachers undergo a group process, share their experiences, consult, share and create professional and personal relationships based on cooperation and trust. The warm ties between the Jewish and Arab teachers constitute a role model for the students.

Over the last three years two groups (one of school principals and one of teachers) spent a week of study and dialogue in Switzerland, under the auspices of the Swiss organization Coexistences. The program included workshops and tours, hosting of local families and meeting with local groups engaged in intercultural dialogue in Switzerland.

About 25schools, 800-850 students and 56 educators from TALI schools and Christian schools (most of them belonging to the Catholic school network in Israel) participate in the program. And was recognized by the Israeli Ministry of Education.

The 25 school principals also meet during the school year as a counseling and dialogue group and are in constant contact. They set the tone for the program with a positive atmosphere of cooperation, for all school teachers, students and their parents.

A meeting group of the class educators