State Dept. awards $770,000 to push diversity in Israel


NEW YORK (JTA) — The U.S. State Department has given $770,000 in grants to Merchavim, an Israeli NGO promoting diversity and shared citizenship in Israel.

Most of the grant, some $750,000, will go to expand the collaboration between Merchavim and the American nonprofit Sesame Workshop, producer of "Sesame Street," to continue to produce Israel’s version of the show, "Rechov Sumsum," which features Israeli Jews and Arabs. The grant will help develop content in Hebrew and Arabic for use by 1,200 kindergarten teachers from various ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Another $20,000 will go to help Merchavim develop a training manual for its Kulanana initiative.

Kulanana is a consortium of NGO, government, business and philanthropic partners that are trying to build an inclusive Israeli society by targeting primarily the 16- to 29 year-old demographic across the country’s five deepest divides: Jews and Arabs; immigrant and veteran Israelis; rich and poor; and internal divides both within the Jewish and Arab communities.

Kulanana is working to promote initiatives along three major themes — citizenship, diversity and fairness.

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