In April 2019, the fellows of the Mandel Program for Regional Leadership in the North participated in a study tour to learn about social enterprises and initiatives in Ramla and Lod. These two cities face multiple challenges and are home to diverse populations who inhabit the same spaces.
As part of the program’s emphasis on “peer learning," the tour was led by two fellows of the program who are senior police officers and social activists. During the tour, the Mandel fellows were introduced to various perspectives and complexities concerning the relations between citizens and the police in Ramla and Lod, as well as to attempts to forge a stable community, supported by the cities’ appointed leaders, social activists, and community police forces.
The fellows met with
Yair Revivo, the mayor of Lod, and
Aharon Attias, the director general of the Lod municipality. They described the challenges of running a city with a unique mix of populations – Arabs and Jews, religious and secular, new residents and old-timers – as well as a Haredi neighborhood and large numbers of new immigrants. The fellows then visited the old city of Lod and toured its historical sites.
Subsequently, the fellows visited the ORT comprehensive Arab school in Ramla and met with the school’s principal,
Rabab Nasser, who received the President of Israel’s “Israeli Hope in Education” Award for 2016–2017 and the ORT Network Education Award for 2017–2018. In the ORT school, Rabab successfully operates the “shared education” model, which Professor Tony Gallagher developed in Northern Ireland against the backdrop of years of conflict between Catholics and Protestants.
During the day, the fellows met with leading community figures and representatives of the Israel Police, saw examples of social enterprises and initiatives, and learned about the depth and complexity of social issues in the two cities. The effect of the tour continues to have an impact on the program and on the open dialogue among the fellows about Israeli society.