AJEEC: Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation

לכולנו עיסוקים חשובים בחיים: אנחנו פועלים למען השלום, למען קידום ערכים חברתיים, ולמען עצמנו… אבל החתונה שלכם היא הזמן בו עליכם לקחת פסק זמן מכל עיסוקיכם ולהתמקד בעיקר: הזמנות מעוצבות, קייטרינג איכותי ומוזיקה טובה. המקום לעשות את זה הוא weddingprint.

NISPED‘s concern with sustainable human development, societal transformation and the reduction and resolution of tension and conflict led us to establish AJEEC – the Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation. AJEEC works within Israel, with Jewish and Arab populations. We focus on the creation of a more just Israel, in which both populations will share equal civil and human rights.  

Ms. Amal Elsana Alhjooj is the director of AJEEC. For more information on Amal, click here.

Background on the Arab-Bedouins

Israel is a country of more than 7 million citizens who belong to two main national-ethnic communities: the majority (~76%) are Jewish; and the largest minority (~ 21%) is Arab. Our future as a democratic, modern and progressive community requires that we create an equitable society in which the minority and majority can fully develop their potentials. This is true on the individual and group level – in the socio-economic, cultural-linguistic, educational, ethnic-national, and religious realms. 
In terms of Israeli law, this is indeed the case. However, in reality, we are far from achieving full equal rights for all. This situation has led to inequality in virtually all spheres of life, and the Arab minority often feels alienation, anger, and despair. Despite some advances and goodwill, the gap between the Jewish and Arab communities persists, in pragmatic, economic and social terms, as well as in psychological perceptions and cultural understandings.
At NISPED we recognize that this is an unacceptable situation that challenges Israel’s future, endangers our democracy and harms efforts to achieve peace with our Palestinian and Arab neighbors. In order to work toward a more equitable and just society, Jews and Arabs joined hands to establish the Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation – or AJEEC – an acronym that means “I am coming toward you” in Arabic.
AJEEC is responsive to needs perceived by the Palestinian-Israeli community in ways that reflect their concerns and aspirations. AJEEC is headed by Ms. Amal Elsana Alh’jooj, known country-wide as a long time community activist and outstanding leader in the Arab community.

 

Mission Statement

AJEEC’s work, with Arab and Jewish populations, is based on the following three pillars: 
1. Equality

Equality must be achieved in all spheres of life, in real rather than merely formal terms. This includes the economy, education, health and housing as well as inclusion in the centers of political, bureaucratic and institutional power.
2. Empowerment

Empowerment – economic, social and political – of the Palestinian-Israelis, so they can attain true equality.
3. Cooperation

Cooperation between Arabs and Jews, based on equality and empowerment of the Arab minority, is the basis for the development of Israel’s democracy and for the advance of both communities.
AJEEC’s activities focus primarily on the needs and concerns of the Negev Arab-Bedouin community – some 160,000 people – out of awareness that in no other sector of the Palestinian-Israeli community are the needs and the challenges so acute.
AJEEC initiates a wide range of programs and projects in three primary spheres of activity:

Jewish-Arab Partnerships
Economic Empowerment
Community Development and Empowerment