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The Educational Association gets a new chairwoman

Sunday 29 November 2015

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On November 12, the village held elections for the board of the Association of Educational Institutions. Samah Salaime was elected as as chair and the following were elected as members: Rajaa’ Ghanaim, Yael Sharon, Inas Karayani, Noam Moses, Bob Mark, Mervat Tanous, Ruti Shuster, Eitan Kremer, Adnan Manaa (as representative of the Municipal committee).

Samah and the team expressed their thanks to Peter al-Kalak (chairman), and the outgoing team for their three years of dedicated work (their term was extended for a year in order to tide over the School’s transition to becoming a state school).

In her new role Samah hopes not just to help the educational institutions face very difficult political and economic realities but to work proactively and expand their work and develop new projects. “Our world is very creative, with many ideas that we can harness – we need to reassess our strengths and find the best areas in which we can work effectively for change,” she says. Of special interest to her is the work in the Primary School, where she has been chair of the board of the parents committee. Most of the challenges faced by the School are solvable, and we already seeing greater stability, she said. “The work of the School for Peace also needs to expand, and could do much more if the funding was there to employ a larger staff,” she said. “And we need to market its projects more actively.” She spoke in a similar vein about the work of the Pluralistic Spiritual Community Center and the Nadi Youth Center. “What’s encouraging is the number of people who now wanted to be involved,” she said, commenting on the large number of people who have joined her team. Six of these are women. Their first meeting will take place this week.

Samah brings to the table both experience in committee work within WASNS and her experience in activism outside of it. She is the founder and head of the association Arab Women at the Center, which works in central Israel to advance women’s issues in socio-economically weak population sector. With the struggle against violence towards women as one of its central issues, the association is currently mounting a vociferous response following the double murder of a mother and daughter in the town of Ramle. Samah is usually the woman sought out by Israeli media to speak on this issue.

Winner of NIF 2015 Human Rights Award

This month, Samah’s work received special recognition by the New Israel Fund, UK when she was declared winner of its 2015 Human Rights Award. The prize “celebrates the work of Israelis who dedicate their lives to advancing a diverse, tolerant and truly shared society.” Samah was cites as one “who works to fight violence against Arab women and create economic and social opportunities for Arab women in mixed cities such as Ramle and Lod. Samah champions shared society and is the founding director of AWC, Arab Women in the Centre.” Samah’s speech can be found here.

While in the UK, Samah was also interviewed for 90 minutes by coordinators of the UK Taskforce on Issues Relating to Arab Citizens of Israel.

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