Israel-IS: Embracing people-to-people diplomacy

Israel-IS facilitates people-to-people connections to foster understanding and bridge cultural divides between Israelis and Emiratis.
(Courtesy: Israel-IS)

Israel-IS, the largest people-to-people organization in Israel, is changing hearts and minds by educating young Israelis to be their most authentic selves. Over the past five years, Israel-IS has connected more than 70,000 young Israelis with their counterparts worldwide through diverse programs and initiatives.

President and CEO Eyal Biram emphasized the importance of people-to-people connections in fostering understanding and bridging cultural divides.

“I think that people-to-people is the most important part when we are trying to change hearts and minds, getting to know better this place and the society here,” he said.

Israel-IS has been particularly successful in connecting young Israelis with their counterparts in the Arab world, despite longstanding political tensions. Biram noted that the normalization of relations between Israel and several Arab countries through the Abraham Accords has provided an opportunity for people in the region to learn more about Israel and its people.

“For the first time, a country that many Emiratis and people from the region could not travel to became one of the most interesting places that they try to learn about and understand,” he said.

(Courtesy: Israel-IS)

The accords are a series of agreements signed in 2020 between Israel and four Arab countries, namely the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. These agreements normalized relations between Israel and these Arab nations, including diplomatic ties, trade agreements, and tourism.

The Abraham Accords are seen as a significant diplomatic breakthrough, as they mark the first time that Arab nations have normalized relations with Israel since the signing of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty in 1994. In the past, many Arab nations refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist and would not establish diplomatic relations with the country.

The accords have had several positive effects, such as increased economic and trade ties between Israel and the Arab nations, as well as improved communication and cooperation in areas such as technology, healthcare, and security. They have also allowed for greater travel and tourism between Israel and the Arab world, providing opportunities for people-to-people connections and cultural exchange.

Through its programs and initiatives, Israel-IS aims to showcase Israel as a place of innovation and technology, but also as a country with a rich history and culture rooted in the Jewish people. By facilitating connections between young Israelis and their counterparts around the world, Israel-IS hopes to promote understanding and dialogue across cultural divides.

As Biram noted, “More than that [innovation and technology], [Israel] is a place about a country and people, the Jewish people that they heard so many things about but could never meet.”

Through its efforts, Israel-IS says they’re helping to build bridges of understanding and friendship between Israelis and people from around the world.

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