Alliance for Change: A Jewish-Arab iHub in the midst of the storm
1 August 2014 - Impact Hub
In the light of recent hostilities accross the Israeli-Palestinian region, Danny Gal (Founder of Hub Tel Aviv) shares some inspiring words for achieving peace through collaboration and change in this troubled region.
Dear Hubbers, Founders & Makers etc,
These are not the most happy and easy days in the Middle East right now as another round of violence is rolling between Israel and Palestine. Unfortunately the violent minority on both sides succeeds time after time to dictate its violent agenda. This is not new to us and unfortunately there are less and less optimistic winds and actions in the area who foresee a better future. BUT, we at Hub Tel Aviv never lost the conviction that peace is possible and can be achieved through joint entrepreneurial action and close relationships between Jews and Arabs.
I am writing to inform you about an important development regarding the Impact Hub in Israel and hopefully for the whole network.
As some of you know we have started the Hub in Tel Aviv in 2009 after a year of preparations. In the first place I was introduced to the idea of the Hub through Moran (founder of Hub Rotterdam) that attended one of my peace seminar of Israelis and Palestinians. She (and Jonathan Robinson, one of the original founders of Hub Islington) said: why don’t we open a ‘Peace Hub’ on the border for Israelis and Palestinians to work together and co-create peace projects? It sounded like a great idea but back then it wasn’t so easy to make it happen. So instead we have started a Hub in Tel Aviv and always supported and got involved in peace projects. One of our best achievements was a movie that was created by one of our members, Shelley Hermon, ‘In the Eye of the Storm’ that won many prizes in festivals around the world – a movie that shows that friendship between two warriors and enemies that became best friends after they both lost their daughters to the conflict.
We have never stopped dreaming about a real Peace Hub that will not only support peace projects but rather will live the tension and the bridging every day.The time has come and the conditions for that became right as we have identified an opportunity to start a Jewish-Arab Impact Hub in Jaffa, the ancient part of Tel Aviv which inhabits both Arabs and Jews and has a lot of challenges and tensions because of its cultural diversity.
We won a tender of the Tel Aviv council that gives us a beautiful property of 800sqr in the midst of the flea market in Jaffa. Nowadays this is one of the most hyped and popular hanging out areas in Tel Aviv and at the same time it is a few minutes’ walk from some of the poorest and most troubled neighborhood in Tel Aviv and the area. A perfect location for an Impact Hub.
The city council has asked us to join forces with another NGO from Tel Aviv ‘Out-of-the-Box’ that is like a designers HUB (Terminal as they call it) which supports out of school designers in their first steps as independents. We see that as a great match for us – and together we are going to start: ‘Impact Hub Terminal Jaffa’.
This new iHub-Terminal will be a meeting place for Jews and Arabs, entrepreneurs and designers, technology and social issues, business and arts. It will not speak about peace – it will be doing it every day! We believe that this is an important development for the idea and purpose of our Impact Hub network. iHubs are not just a cool co-working space. They play an important role in promoting peace and justice for all in the places and communities in which they operate.
We invite all of you to partner with us in every possible way as this project belongs to all of us – people who are trying to harness creativity and entrepreneurship to address the most burning issues of the world. We are seeking the support of the network in many ways: fund raising, design, content, ideas for involving the corporate sector, connections with similar project around the world etc.
Please feel free to send us your ideas, thoughts, words of support. We need it.
And a personal note: I am writing this email during the first days of a year in Harvard University where I will be doing a Master in Public Administration. I is a great opportunity for me after so many years of social activism including Hubbing. There is a very dedicated and talented team that will carry on and make the Impact Hub Terminal Jaffa come true. One of them, Eli Hillman is my best friend and partner who co-founded with me the Hub n Tel Aviv. With him there are a few super experienced and talented people that are fully dedicated to make this vision a reality: Yuval Dror, Rona Shafrir, Liron Hershkovitz (founder of Out-of-the-Box), Ruth Geron and many great others.
I will continue to be involved from distance as the crew back home will make the magic happen – with your support.
We will keep you informed but please also initiate and offer anything you can for this important project.
Lots of love to everyone on this wonderful network.
Founder – Hub Tel Aviv