עוסים שלום
search

About us

.

Ossim Shalom – Social Workers for Peace, Welfare and Human Rights


Ossim ShalomSocialWorkers for Peace andWelfare – is an Israeli professional, socio-political non-partisan non-governmental organization (NGO) of Jewish and Arab social workers. The organization was founded in Jerusalem in the summer of 1990 by a small group of social workers, Jews and Arabs, who believed that there is a need for pro-peace activities which will emphasize the interdependence of peace, welfare and human rights. Thus we believe that it is the responsibility of social workers to use their professional socialization, values and knowledge to promote peace and welfare, to protect human rights and to help build a democratic civil society.

 

Ossim Shalom calls for using a dialogue – a basic tool of social work – as a means to help resolve the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. A true and open dialogue based on mutual respect and understanding can bring over the needed change to the region, which will be based on legitimate right of both peoples to live in peace in their own independent States. Mutual relations must be based on mutual dignity and the acknowledgment of national, cultural and religious rights for all.

 

Acting in a highly diverse social environment, we believe that closing the gaps between Jews and Arabs within Israel, as well as between Israel and Palestine, is essential for the process of peace-building and for advancement of welfare in Israel and in the region.

As a role model Ossim Shalom engages two Chairpersons, an Arab and a Jew.

 

We believe that no sustainable peace is possible without diminishing the gaps and dealing with the conflicts within, as well as between, the Israeli and the Palestinian societies. Therefore we have dedicated a great deal of our activities to reach these aims within the diverse Israeli society.

 

By acting to increase the essential awareness of social workers to the interaction between peace, welfare and human rights, we have created a cadre of experts that can proceed accordingly. By training social workers as change agents and facilitators, we are creating a ripple effect so that they can reach varied communities and be instrumental in the organizational projects.

 

Ossim Shalom is a well known and esteemed organization of over 1200 Arab and Jewish social workers from all over the country, many of whom are active as volunteers in our organization as well as others.

Illustration of Main Activities

 

In the winter of 1991-2 Ossim Shalom developed its first three projects in Jerusalem:

 

·Talpiyot neighborhood project, where together with the Jerusalem Municipality we aimed to reducee the high level of violence that erupted at the Talpiyot neighborhood of Jerusalem against Palestinian passersby. The project consisted of intensive meetings with a group of 15 local grassroots leaders, representing the local community youth and women's club. We dealt with issues such of stereotypes, bias and xenophobia on the one hand, and tolerance, coexistence, and the development of democratic leadership on the other. The leaders recognized the essential need to prevent and oppose any future violence.

 

·The second project involved new immigrants from Russia, offering them socio- political consultation and activities.

 

·The third project involved Discussion Groups of Palestinian and Israeli social workers. The meetings stopped after a few months as the Palestinian social workers complained of receiving life-threatening phone calls, demanding them not to meet with the Israelis. Despite the disappointment following the disruption of this initiative, the first project has proved successful as the attacks against Palestinians in that neighborhood were decreased considerably.

 

Alongside these activities we began to reform and enhance the organization by recruiting Jewish and Arab social workers through personal networks, open meetings and conferences in Jerusalem and around the country. One issue was agreed upon from the start: Ossim Shalom – an Israeli Jewish-Arab organization – would be co-chaired by two persons, an Arab and a Jew, simultaneously.

 

Upon evaluation of the political situation in Israel in the mid-1990s, especially as a result of the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995, we decided that in addition to our ongoing activities we must tackle the entire scale of conflicts within Israeli society, focusing mainly on the Jewish-Arab gaps and differences. In addition, we intensified our efforts to resume our contacts with Palestinian social workers.

We realized that we need to create a cadre of professionals to activate and promote the organization's goals. We decided to train social workers as change-agents in their specific communities by strengthening democratic beliefs, behaviors and leadership. A workshop was designed, based on the knowledge and experience derived from the Talpiyot project; from the professional background of our members, who were experienced in managing and solving conflicts; from the theoretical knowledge of changing personal attitudes and social beliefs, as well as from studies of group and community dynamics.

 

These topics were dealt within the context of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict and in relation to the Israeli society. So far we have trained over 200 Arab and Jewish social workers in mixed Arab-Jewish groups. Over 70 veterans of these workshops were trained in a special course to be conflict group facilitators, including supervised fieldwork, based on the model of co-facilitation that we utilize in all our activities. The workshop model and the facilitation course program were developed and implemented by Ossim Shalom members, and gained academic recognition in the advanced studies program at Bar Ilan University School for Social Work.

We were also involved in various social and academic activities, including cooperation between Al- Quds University in East Jerusalem and the Hebrew University; workshops with the police force regarding human rights and combating stereotypes issues; a project to empower the Arab community in Israel; establishing a post-trauma workshop in the Northern part of Israel during the second Lebanon war, and likewise for Palestinian professionals from Gaza and Israel; constructing games centers for both Arab and Jewish families at-home and within their communities; conducting workshops for both Palestinian and Israeli women, following the 1325 UN Security Council Resolution; and more. We also participated in presenting Palestinian minors who were detained by the Israeli court, condemned for their attacks against Jewish citizens and soldiers.

 

In May 2015 we organized an international professional conference at Haifa University, the topic was: Ethics and Practice for Professionals Working in Conflict Zones: From Denial to Action, which received wide acclaim in both local and international media.

 

Today, after nearly 25 years of activities, Ossim Shalom is a well known social workers organization in Israel, highly professional and motivated, representing the wide political, social and religious diversity among its members. We are all united by the belief that since peace is the condition for welfare and welfare is an essential condition for peace, it is our professional duty to protect human rights and to attain equity, parity, welfare and peace.

 

Dr. Muhammad Diab, Baruch Shalev, Co-Chairpersons Ossim Shalom

Ossim-shalom@bezeqint.net

 


עובדים סוציאליים לשלום ולרווחה (ע"ר)

مال اجتماعيين من اجل السلام والرفاه (ج. م)

Social Workers for Peace and Social Welfare (R.A.)

Powered by Artvision | Truppo Websites