The Full Story
Landmarks was founded in 2012 by a group of young Israeli activists as an organizational framework for initiatives that promote social and economic resilience by strengthening shared society – a society based on the values of mutual responsibility, tolerance, collective action and honoring our diverse traditions and cultural identities. Over the past decade, Landmarks has crystallized into a movement that connects young people from across Israel’s different communities through programs that address some of the most seemingly intractable challenges facing Israeli society while facilitating the creation of personal connections that increase their familiarity with the perspectives, values and experiences of the other. Landmarks programs provide young people with the opportunity to effect meaningful social change while working together to bridge social, cultural and educational gaps, therefore reducing prejudice and distrust.
The ever-increasing polarity between communities and groups in Israeli society is one of our greatest challenges. Israel is no longer the immigrant state it was at its founding, peopled by groups of immigrants who seemed to have little in common except for Jewish heritage and dreams of the Land of Israel, living alongside local Arab communities, yet the divisiveness is no less apparent. Most citizens and residents are native-born and yet continue to be divided along ethnic, religious, socioeconomic and political lines. The significant economic and educational gaps between the different sectors exacerbate existing schisms. It is imperative to build and maintain bridges between different segments of society and bring about the successful social, educational and economic inclusion of all communities into Israel’s diverse social fabric.
Landmarks believes that we have a responsibility to craft a society shared by all and that empowered young people are the ideal agents of change for doing so. Our activity, which focuses on students, sees the academic space as a unique meeting point that is seldom utilized for young people from different sectors – and their time there a rare opportunity to reduce social and educational gaps, and to engage in positive interaction. For most young people, academia is the setting of their first real encounter with the other. Making good use of the time that they study side by side to increase familiarity with one another, lower some of the barriers between them and promote a sense of shared purpose, while providing a framework for academic assistance, can have a significant impact on our collective future.
An innovative learning and cultural exchange program that brings together ultra-Orthodox and non-ultra-Orthodox Jewish students on a weekly basis with the purpose of helping the ultra-Orthodox students improve their academic achievement through individual tutoring, providing the opportunity to learn about and from one another, and facilitating the creation of meaningful personal connections between them.
Ma’ayan Bamidbar brings together Jewish and Arab students in a language and cultural exchange with the goal of helping the Arab students improve their Hebrew skills through assistance with their academic assignments, introducing the Jewish students to spoken Arabic and local Arab culture, and facilitating the creation of meaningful personal connections between them.
A summer program for students from different sectors of Israeli society in the country’s socioeconomic periphery. The program focuses on agricultural work, supplemented by educational programming on social issues, agriculture and the environment.