Day 6: Stronger Together: Lessons from Nazareth and Tiberius

Yoseph Haddad at Mount Precipice, Nazareth, Israel. – May 1, 2022

By Lindsey Rose

This was a day of transition for our cohort, as we bid shalom to Jerusalem, the lovely Inbal Hotel and it’s Inbal-ievable service and breakfast buffet smorgasbord. By 8:30 a.m., we were on the bus headed to Nazareth, the capital and largest city in Northern Israel. 

There we met Yoseph Haddad, CEO of Together – Vouch for Each other, an organization focused on bridging the gap between the Arab sector and Israeli society. Yoseph, an IDF veteran, is an Israeli-Arab himself and staunch defender of Israel. He and his organization recently led the first Arab Israeli delegation to Auschwitz, making history as the first group to hold the memorial ceremony there in Arabic.

He organized the group of 30 Arab Israelis to Auschwitz to fight antisemitism and educate them that never again should something like the Holocaust happen. Many of the attendees didn’t know anything of the torture and murder that took place in concentration camps.

Already he has 130 people registered for next year’s trip, and thousands across Israel discussing this expedition. “People are fed lies, half-truths and misinformation about each other’s cultures and they don’t know the whole story,” said Haddad. “Once they learn it, their eyes are opened.”

For many of our cohort members, this was the first time hearing from an Arab-Israeli about the pursuit for collaboration and getting to know each other better across race and religion, and genuine perspective from someone who has been making waves with Arabs, Israelis and the media worldwide.

“What we know is that when you fight antisemitism, you fight racism,” said Haddad, who grew up playing football (a.k.a., soccer) with kids from all backgrounds. The experience of playing a team sport with a mixed group of children at a young age opened his eyes because he got to know the cultures of all of his teammates. Being Israeli was a commonality across his teammates, and this helped them see past religious differences.

What struck me in addition to his passion for helping educate people to bring us closer together is how relevant his mission is for all countries and people – not just Arabs and Israelis. He shared stories of many Arabs who have approached him with gratitude for helping them better understand the history of the Jewish people, and vice versa. 

Later in the day, we had the pleasure of visiting the Kinneret Innovation Center (P2G), Israel’s leading tech hub for agriculture, water and sustainability. Its high tech R&D park consists of co-working space and R&D labs. It’s an innovation ecosystem where academia, industry and startups gather and connect.

Through its accelerator and incubator program, P2G teaches people, from youth to adults, to be ready for the future, and aims to provide a nurturing environment for early-stage startups in the North that will help put Israel on the map as the cutting-edge technological leader for agrotech, water-tech and sustainability.

We ended the day with an incredible outdoor dinner at Berenice Winery in Tiberius, which helped get its footing from P2G. There we sipped wine (the Kosher Syrah 2020 and not-so-kosher cabernet from 2019 were my personal favorites), and learned from Israelis about opportunities and obstacles surrounding their community. While we did not solve all of each other’s problems, we formed genuine connections and provided much inspiration and fresh perspective to one another.