A shared life in the arts

Arts tracks in Arab schools, in partnership with Jewish schools in Israel

“A simple line painted with the brush can lead to freedom and happiness.”

- Joan Miro


Studying the arts gives students an empowering experience. The process of learning ad creation promote creativity and invite significant learning while touching upon a diversity of human and social values. The student’s work with arts (verbal, visual, physical or musical) improves language ability and deepens the connection with the world of at and culture, and develops the ability to view our reality critically.

Israel’s education system offers students the option of majoring in arts in high school – theatre, music, visual arts, dance and more. However this option of majoring in arts is not offered to all of the nation’s students equally. In comparison to the Jewish-majority schools in Israel, there are very few arts tracks in Arab school, and the number of Arab students majoring in arts is very low. Additionally, Jewish and Arab schools in Israel do not connect in significant ways, ad so the youth in Israel don’t have an opportunity to get to know one another and discover diverse cultures.

“A Shared Life in the Arts” was established in 2017 with an eye towards advancing a more just society for all of Israel’s citizens and promoting dialog between different groups and cultures. The program is led by the Merchavim Institute,, together with the Israeli Ministry of Education and with the support of the Morningstar Foundation. This unique initiative advances and supports the establishment of a variety of tracks in performing arts in Arab high schools: music, visual arts and theatre arts.


“A Shared Life in the Arts” – Goals and Activities


Since its founding in 2017, the program has recruited 10 Arab schools and 11 Jewish schools, and 350 participating students. These numbers are growing every year, and in 2020 (despite the Corona crisis), Merchavim opened five new study tracks in four new schools which joined the program.

In 2020 we initiated, together with the Israeli Ministry of Education, a program which enables students to major in classical Arabic music, and to take the final exams in Arabic on Arabic art and culture. The program’s content reflects the richness of Arabic music, musical instruments, original works and styles. The program also reflects the great variety of Arab cultures that exist in Israel (Druze, Bedouins, Muslim and Christian Arabs).



“Over the past three years we had the opportunity to get to know a new musical and social world – the music track at the Beit Jan school. This is a high quality program with a professional team that became true friends from day one. The meetings with Beit Jan are always full of meaningful learning, and the social interactions are very significant for the two groups, as are the joint performances a product of our cooperation.”

Dima Ministein
Coordinator of the Tefen music track.

“Over the past couple of years we had the opportunity to broaden our horizons together with our friends from Beit Jan. Together we studied, played instruments, performed and discovered a lot from the Beit Jan group. Together we discovered a new cultural world and we combined two worlds in one arena which we all know well.”

Eviatar Knafo
Student at the Tefen school.

“Our cooperation with the Tefen School in the framework of the “A Shared Life in the Arts” Program is very rich, successful and fun. We waited for these meetings, when we got to know the students at Tefen well – we studied together, sang, played instruments and mainly had a great time.”

Joanna Kis
Student in the music track in Beit Jan school

“Participating in the program “A Shared Life in the Arts” and the connection with the Tefen track was instrumental in helping us get the program off the ground. Through music the students were able to get to know students from different backgrounds, thanks to the workshops, visits and especially the joint performances and playing music together in the framework of the program.”

Fadi Zinaldin
Head of the music department in Beit Jan

The program in numbers


years of activity


participating students


participating schools from the Arab community

חומרי למידה בנושא תוכנית "חיים משותפים באומנויות"
מאמרים ומחקרים בנושא תוכנית "חיים משותפים באומנויות"


The people who make it happen

Nati Tuvi
מנהל תוכניות חיים משותפים ואחראי השתלמויות עובדי הוראה​

Nati was born in Israel, Kfar HaNagid and today, makes his home in the Shapira neighborhood of Tel Aviv. He holds a BA in Behavioral Sciences from Ben Gurion University, and an MA in Humanities from the Kibbutzim College. Nati previously worked in the field of supervision and treatment of at-risk youth as part of a youth protection project, and provided long-term accompaniment and direction to young people without family support at the ‘Lamerhav’ nonprofit. Nati joined Merchavim in 2016.

Contact Nati at nati@merchavim.net