Workshop 3: Planning Issues in Israel’s Arab Sector: Conflicts and Coexistence

About 20% of Israel’s population are Arab-Israelis (not to be confused with the situation in the West Bank or Gaza). They are full citizens of Israel, and trends and indicators of equality have been consistently improving over the years. However, the history of conflict over land since the 1948 War of Independence and the backdrop of the Middle-East conflict have left a trail of disparities. These constitute challenges for planners and policymakers today – at both the national and local levels. Haifa and the Galilee region in the north of the country are home to the majority of Israel’s Arab citizens, whilst also being the country’s major “green lung” – all within the context of Israel’s tiny size, high density, and high population growth rate.

This workshop will be co-hosted by an NGO of Jewish and Arab planners, architects, economics and social activists – “Shchenim – Neighbors” -and by the mayor and professionals of the largely-Arab town of Sakhnin nearby. This mixed Jewish-Arab region in the Western Galilee is representative of many similar regions in Israel, with its tiny land area and high density of development. Participants in the workshop will learn firsthand about the dilemmas faced by both Jewish and Arab planners, elected leader and social activists when they try to find acceptable balances between the growing pressures over land, municipal boundaries, and open space in this region. The momentum for peaceful coexistence promoted by “Shchenim – Neighbors” and others in the region has recently delivered several model planning decisions and practices.

The region is close to the ancient city of Acre, a mixed Jewish Arab city on the coast, and if time permits, the tour will include a visit to this stronghold from the Crusader period.

Tentative schedule
8:30 am Departure from Haifa hotels
6-7 pm Return to Haifa hotels