The Carmel Fire is a documentary being co-produced by the Ma'an Network and Common Ground Productions. It tells the story of the historic cooperation between firefighters of the Palestinian Civil Defense and the Israel Fire and Rescue Services during the tragic Carmel fire in December 2010 near Haifa. The story is told through dramatic historical footage and interviews with Palestinian and Israeli firefighters.
The blaze that began on Mount Carmel and swept through hills around the coastal city of Haifa was the deadliest in Israeli history, claiming 44 lives. It was also historic for the unprecedented cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian firefighters who battled the conflagration for four days.
By highlighting the common humanity of the firefighters, and the shared humanitarian concerns of their institutions, the film explores the intersection of human values, national institutions, and statehood. The Carmel Fire sheds light on how civil security institutions can lay the groundwork for future progress in the region through trust-building activities, capacity development, and practical cooperation.
The film is currently in production and is due to be broadcast on the Ma'an Network by the end of 2013.
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 in the Middle East that can effect positive change in the region. Working in close partnership with the Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding (OBCP) to ensure outstanding results, activities include outdoor wilderness expeditions, retreats, local meetings and individual coaching which focus on strengthening leadership and conflict resolution skills and building deep personal relationships among strategically positioned emerging leaders across key sectors. With funding from the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Norwegian Church, the Fetzer Institute and private sources, this programme addresses the distrust, tension and instability that undermine possible relationships between Israelis and Palestinians leaders and encourages a culture of positive engagement.
The Leadership Network already comprises civil society, political, business, and religious leaders. In 2013, the network is expanding to include a cadre of Israeli and Palestinian women leaders. The women leaders program will formally kick off in May with a 10-day wilderness expedition overseas, followed by various activities that will culminate in the women joining the Leadership Network by the end of 2013.
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.
Universal Code on Holy Sites
SFCG's Jerusalem office has partnered with three other NGOs—the Oslo Center for Peace, One World in Dialogue and Religions for Peace—to develop a universal Code on Holy Sites. After a three-year process, which included meetings amongst religious, political and civil society leaders from Europe and the Middle East, and input from senior leaders of the world's major faiths, this groundbreaking Code was completed in January 2011.
Funded by the Norwegian Government, it maps out a detailed code of conduct in relation to sacred places worldwide. With endorsement by senior religious leaders from over 15 faiths, and following a pilot implementation of the Code in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we are commencing a pilot project in the Holy Land together with the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land. In addition, we are working to use the Code as a basis for a legally adopted UN resolution, which would set up a monitoring mechanism to assess the progress of countries committed to abide by it.
The Universal Code on Holy Sites is a practical document, created for religious leaders, so that they have an agreed upon way in which all holy sites can be better safeguarded for their adherents. We believe that the existence of such an agreed upon text promotes religious respect and interreligious harmony through the mutual acknowledgement that all sacred places are holy in the eyes of their followers. Preserving them with care and respect, and providing mechanisms to reduce friction around them before it erupts, will minimize conflict in the world.
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.