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Two Cultures Meet at the Ein Dor Museum

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Learning Together and Living Together in the Galilee


Kibbutz Ein-Dor has a small but excellent museum, established about 25 years ago to house artifacts and archaeological finds dug up in the area of the Lower Galilee. Carmela Arnon, director of the museum, is a student of Dr Ruth Amiram. Carmela first came to the kibbutz to conduct a series of digs at a prehistoric site near Mt Tabor, and has remained here ever since as a member of the kibbutz. In addition to the permanent collection, there is an area of the museum devoted to changing exhibits that are interestingly and esthetically displayed.

As Ein Dor is surrounded on all sides by Arab and Bedouin villages, with whom the kibbutz has always had not only cordial, but friendly relations, Carmela saw very early the positive  and educational role that the Museum could fulfill in cementing and improving relations between the two peoples. Workshops for children were organized with the cooperation of Feisal Zoabi, Headmaster of the nearest Arab village, who is also a close personal friend, and of Diab Shibli, who is in charge of cultural activities on the Kfar Shibli Local Council. The museum has been running these workshops for the past 7 years, with the support of the Abraham Fund and the Israel Ministry of Education.

The workshops provide a too-rare opportunity for Jewish and Arab youngsters to study their heritage together, as well as forum for parents to be involved in an integrated educational experience. A class of Jewish children and a class of Arab children from villages in the vicinity meet together. The two classes are divided up into small mixed groups, each with an Arab and Jewish guide/ instructor. All children and guides have badges with their name written in Arabic and in Hebrew. They study the common heritage of the children of Abraham, and what life was like in ancient times. To ensure the success of this venture, the parents of all the children meet with teachers, and are given information on everything that will be done. The parents and teachers are all involved. The atmosphere at the meetings of adults and children is one of study, working together, playing together and building things together over a period of several months.

To our great joy, the meetings have continued despite the ongoing violence of the Intifada that surrounds us. Parents from Nazareth and Migdal HaEmek meet and discuss the next activity of their children during times of utmost tension. Are we living in a different world, in a fool’s Paradise? Or is this a sign of how life could be in the whole country if only we could all be willing to share, instead of saying “It’s all mine!” … After all, we are, both Arab and Jew, human beings.

The Museum also operates a reconstructed olive press, designed from parts of a 6th century press found near Ein Dor. During the olive pressing season, classes of children, both Jewish and Arab, come from all over the northern part of Israel to gather and press olives, the oil is refined and the children also see how soap is made, and each goes home with a little bottle of oil which they themselves pressed. It is great fun. In the summer, they also harvest wheat, grind it on a stone, make flour and dough, then bake pitta and of course eat it with labaneh, olive oil and za'atar. Back they go to their Kfar/ village, tired but happy!  

I take my hat off to Carmela and to the devoted group of guides, Arab and Jewish, who themselves are a living example of peaceful, cooperative individuals working together towards a common aim at our little Museum.


Aryeh Malkin

Kibbutz Ein Dor


Contact information:  Ein Dor Museum  Web site at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/3603/indexfr.html. Email: museum@eindor.org.il

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