(Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)

Jewish Israelis and Muslim Arabs working together to advance peace through sports, education and engaging religious leaders win $30,000 prize.

By: Rebecca Stadlen Amir, Israel21c

Three pairs of Jewish Israelis and Muslim Arabs were awarded the 14th annual Institute of International Education (IIE) Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East in Jerusalem Thursday, recognizing their work toward advancing peace and reducing tensions in the region.

“This award recognizes innovation, and rewards those who are courageous and committed enough to work together to overcome the religious, cultural, ethnic and political issues which divide the Middle East,” said former IBM executive Victor J. Goldberg, a longtime IIE trustee who created and endowed the prize in 2005.

The three winners include Mosaica Religious Peace Initiative, the PeacePlayers, Middle East Tamra/Naharia All-Star team, and Change Agents. The prize awards $30,000 split among the three pairs of individuals involved.

Religious Peace Initiative director Roie Ravitzky and Raed Badir, director of the Adam Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in East Jerusalem and Kfar Kassem, accepted the award together. They are working to bridge divides in religious leadership in the region and amplify existing voices of leaders who aspire to peace.

PeacePlayers uses basketball to bring together Jewish and Arab women from the Arab and Israeli communities of Tamra and Nahariya. The team, led by coaches Shadi Khatib and Dor Dayan, made history in 2016-2017 season as the first female Israeli and Arab team to advance to the national division after winning the regional championship.

Change Agents, led by Nava Sonnenschein and Harb Amara, features courses designed to connect Palestinian and Israeli professionals to create dialogue and implement action around areas of need. Created by the School for Peace in 2006, Change Agents engages Palestinian and Israeli lawyers, mental health professionals, journalists, environmentalists, architects and planners, physicians, and politicians and teachers.

The IIE awards the Goldberg Prize each year to recognize outstanding collaborative work by two individuals, one Muslim Arab and one Jewish Israeli, working together to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. The winners are chosen by a selection committee that includes leaders from business, academia, the not-for-profit sector, and government.

SPRING PLANTING TIME IS HERE. Make the Land of Israel Even More Beautiful by Planting Fruit Trees Today!


This spring, more than ever, Israeli farmers need your help to recover from destructive Hamas arson fires.

“…for the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land… a land of wheat and barley, vines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey”
(Deuteronomy 8:7-8)