Merchavim, the Institute for the Advancement of Shared Citizenship in Israel, is an Israeli nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting diversity, inclusion, and greater fairness in classrooms, communities, and society.
Founded in 1998, Merchavim is a leading organization with a proven track record of delivering on its mandate and continually seeking to grow and strengthen its programs.
Merchavim’s offices are located in Lod, as this city represents the diversity, complexity, and challenges of joint citizenship in Israeli society.
Mechavim, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, works to integrate teachers from the Arab sector, Ethiopian-Israelis, and teachers with disabilities into the state education system. In addition, Merchavim staff conducts training and continuing education courses in teachers’ rooms with teaching staff on diversity and inclusion, conducts training in public and private organizations to implement principles of diversity and fairness, and trains representatives of youth organizations to implement shared society values into informal education organizations.
In 2023, Merchavim entered social tourism with the “Shared Paths” program, which conducts physical tours, virtual tourism activities, and meetings in Arab localities throughout the country to strengthen familiarity with Arab society and promote a shared society.
Over its 25 years of activity, Merchavim has created a library of valuable resources, including dozens of articles and research studies, and lesson plans on topics from spoken Arabic to diversity in the classroom and many more (click here for the articles and research studies and here for lesson plans – in Hebrew and Arabic).
Merchavim’s activity over the years has been accompanied by studies that have proven that environmental and structural changes, such as the integration of teachers of diverse identities into the education system, increase social cohesion, raise awareness of the other, and create a significant change in the participants’ approach to the variety of identities in Israeli society.
Merchavim’s mission is to help Israel’s citizens, of all backgrounds, to learn about the other, value diversity, and create fairer classrooms, schools and communities.
To be a leading Israeli shared citizenship education organization, in order to help all of Israel’s 9 million citizens to live together in a fairer society by providing everyone with equal opportunities, respect and a sense of belonging.
- Fair treatment of employees, suppliers and partners.
- Respect for diversity among our staff and our target populations, as an expression of our shared citizenship vision.
- Professionalism and steadily improving quality of programs and services.
- Partnership with various organizations to promote our vision, on the basis of shared values.
- Responsibility, trust and transparency in all partnerships.
- Learning and continual improvement as an organization and as individuals – we aspire to be the best organization in our field.
- Identification and commitment to our shared citizenship model – along with a continual ambition for its improvement.”
Merchavim was established by the former director, Mike Prashker, in 1998 as an Israeli non-governmental organization (NGO) to create a fairer society for all Israeli citizens through shared citizenship education. Today Mike Prashker serves on the Merchavim Executive Board.
Mike Frashker, the founder of Merchavim, was the CEO from 1998 to 2014
Esti Halperin was the CEO from 2014 to 2020
Adv. Michal Pinchuk has been the CEO since 2020 until today
This year, 2023, will mark the 25th anniversary of the Merchavim Institute.
“The education system removes stereotypes and works to bring a diverse teaching staff. I have no doubt that Israeli society will be in a better place, educationally, ethically and otherwise, the more we see teachers with disabilities in classrooms – as educators and role models. We at the Ministry of Education provide teachers in the program with individual support, technologies and other tools to help their integration. We intent to continue to increase the number of teachers with disabilities and open our doors to everyone who can educate and advance Israel’s students”
You helped us put a spotlight on the dilemmas that need to be addressed, to formulate solutions together, and to learn how to derive benefits from diversity.
“The program supported me and helped me to enter the field of teaching in a full-time position. Now it’s my turn to prove myself.”