The Jewish-Arab Mayors Forum in Israel (JAMFI)
OVERVIEW: A shared Jewish-Arab effort, facilitated by Sikkuy, to build sustainable frameworks for municipal cooperation between Jewish and Arab towns and cities. The first forum was initiated in the Wadi Ara region and the second forum in now active in the Carmel Coast area.
Sikkuy's pioneering Jewish-Arab Mayor's Forum in Wadi Ara brought Jewish and Arab mayors in the region together for long term, sustainable cooperation based on equal allocation of regional resources for the benefit of all the citizens of the region. After Sikkuy concluded its facilitation role, the mayor's forum continues to convene to advance a shared agenda in the fields of developing two shared industrial zones, environmental protection and tourism.
Despite the close proximity of many Jewish and Arab municipalities in areas like the northern "Triangle" (Wadi Ara), the Galilee and the Negev, there is little cooperation between these entities on the local and regional level.
Sikkuy believes that cooperation between the Arab and Jewish municipalities for economic development, joint infrastructure expansion, tourism, shared land use etc. will benefit both Arab and Jewish citizens and create a positive dynamic for advancing civic equality and shared citizenship.
Since there was no framework for implementing this kind of cooperation, Sikkuy established the first Jewish-Arab Mayors Forum (JAMFI) in the Northern Triangle - Wadi Ara region in 2004. With Sikkuy's assistance, Jewish and Arab mayors in this region and their professional staffs are now meeting regularly to determine and develop a shared agenda for mutually beneficial local and regional development.
Joint committees have been formed to work together on: economic development - a shared industrial zone; tourism; environmental protection. These committees are being assisted by professional consultants provided by Sikkuy. Additional committees will be initiated as new opportunities and needs arise.
In 2008 Sikkuy implemented its exit strategy in the Wadi Ara region and the project's success was proven by the continuation of the frameworks that were built while Sikkuy was active in the region.
In 2006 Sikkuy initiated a second forum in the Carmel Coast area. The forum includes the Arab municipalities of Jisr a-Zarka & Furadeis and the Jewish municipalities Zikhron Ya'akov and Carmel Coast regional council.
Sikkuy plans to continue the project in Carmel Coast area till the end of 2010 and to initiate a third forum in another region by mid 2010.
EXISTING FUNDING: Fohs Foundation, UJA Federation of New York
FUNDING NEEDS: Ongoing funding for the Carmel Coast Forum ; development of an additional regional forum, $80,000.