Fire Lines is a documentary coproduced by the Ma'an network and Common Ground Productions. It tells the story of the historic cooperation between firefighters of the Palestinian Civil Defense Force and the Israeli Fire and Rescue Services during the tragic Carmel fire in December 2010. Dramatic historical footage and interviews with Palestinian and Israeli firefighters tell the story of this heroic event.
Highlighting the common humanity of the firefighters and shared concerns of their institutions, the film explores the intersection of human values, national institutions, and statehood. Fire Lines sheds light on how civil security institutions can lay the groundwork for future progress in the region through trust-building, capacity development, and practical cooperation. The film will be broadcast on the Ma'an network in December 2013, the third anniversary of the Carmel Fire disaster.
Blogging for Social and Political Change Network
In 2012, we provided training to a network of 20 leading bloggers worldwide who strive for positive social and political change. The bloggers set up their own website, incorporating a safety feature to ensure the security of bloggers in unstable regions. We also provided training in social media skills to Palestinian bloggers.
Universal Code of Conduct on Holy Sites
The SFCG Jerusalem Office has partnered with three NGOs – the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, One World in Dialogue, and Religions for Peace – to develop a Universal Code on Holy Sites. The Code maps out a practical code of conduct and policy for sacred places worldwide, aiming to improve the protection of holy sites and promote inter-religious reconciliation. Completed in January 2011 after a three-year development process, the Code is now endorsed by senior religious leaders from over ten faiths.
SFCG is currently implementing a pilot project based on the Universal Code on Holy Sites in the Holy Land with coordination from the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land (CRIHL). Composed of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, the Palestinian Ministry of Waqf and Sharia Courts, and the Patriarchates and Bishoprics in Jerusalem, the CRIHL also rents space in SFCG’s Jerusalem office, enabling close working relationships and coordinated efforts. On October 30, 2013, the Jerusalem office will host a conference discussing the safeguarding of holy sites. This conference will bring SFCG together with the Council of Religious Leaders in Israel, who represent all of the faiths found in Israel, and the Adenauer foundation to discuss this important issue.
A successful pilot of the Code has already been implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with plans to launch other projects in Indonesia, Nigeria, and India. In addition, SFCG and its partners are making efforts to support the development of a UN resolution in the spirit of the Code.
Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land
The Secretariat of the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land (CRIHL) rents space in SFCG's Jerusalem office, enabling a close working partnership on the Holy Land pilot of the Universal Code on Holy Sites. CRIHL comprises the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, the Palestinian Ministry of Waqf and the Shari’a Courts of Palestine, as well as all the Patriarchates and Bishoprics in Jerusalem.
Israeli-Palestinian Leadership Network
The Israeli-Palestinian Leadership Network is a multi-year initiative to build a broad-based, cross-sector network of Palestinian and Israeli leaders who can effect positive change in the region. Working in close partnership with the Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding (OBCP), activities include outdoor wilderness expeditions, retreats, local meetings and individual coaching, with a focus on strengthening leadership and conflict resolution skills and building deep personal relationships among important emerging leaders in both societies. The program encourages a culture of positive engagement and addresses the distrust and tension that undermine potential relationships between Israelis and Palestinians leaders.
The network, which already includes religious, political, business, and civil society leaders, expanded in 2013 to include a cadre of female leaders from Israel and Palestine. Since May, the women have participated in a ten day wilderness expedition, followed by various activities which will culminate in the women traveling to the Czech Republic in October 2013, joining the Leadership Network for a ‘Connecting the Hub’ meeting.
YaLa: MENA Leaders for Change
The SFCG Jerusalem Office facilitates YaLa, a leadership project to empower Palestinian and Israeli youth leaders. YaLa, a play on the Arabic and Hebrew term for “Let’s go!”, is a fast-growing network and social movement in the Middle East and North Africa for those who want to work together for constructive change within the region. It includes participants from Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, Morocco, Algeria and Sudan, plus a following of nearly 400,000 users connected by the YaLa Facebook community.
Since October 2012, over 100 youth have engaged in a range of activities, including two semesters of online leadership training via YaLa’s Online Academy. In May 2013, participants attended a conflict resolution workshop facilitated by visiting professors from Harvard Law School. The project will culminate in a two-day conference in October 2013, with an estimated 120 participants attending.
Ultimately, the training provides youth leaders with the skills to build the capacity of their local organizations, design their own projects, and engage in constructive dialogue between their respective societies.
Cooperative Disease Monitoring System
Since 2001, Search for Common Ground has facilitated cross-border health cooperation between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Territory. Our flagship initiative is the Middle East Consortium on Infectious Disease Surveillance (MECIDS), which guards against threats posed by natural disease outbreaks and biological attacks.
At its core, MECIDS is a network that enables the Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian Ministries of Health and research institutions to share data about disease patterns and to coordinate swift cross-border responses in the event of an outbreak. Food- and water-borne diseases are the primary health concerns monitored by MECIDS.
With its administrative secretariat in Jerusalem and its scientific secretariat in Amman, MECIDS is connects and collaborates with a wide range of regional academic institutions, national centers for disease control, and health ministries.
Search for Common Ground works in close partnership with the Nuclear Threat Initiative’s (NTI) Global Health and Security Initiative, which provides funding for the programme.