In 1999, beside the open grave of his murdered son, Kamel Riyan swore to heal the violence within his community. Only several weeks later, still in the early shock of mourning, he created the Alrafa organization. The Aman Center for a Safe Society (a program of the NGO, Alrafa) is the only nonprofit group that acts against violence in Israeli Arab society. Our grassroots center is constituted by seven staff members and community members who are committed to a better future. Our main projects are Lay-Leadership, Youth Education, Strength in Numbers, Religious Leadership, Rallying Resources. Through these projects, we lead Israeli Arab society towards social responsibility for the crime and extremism in its midst: murder, violence against women, extremist hate crimes, and more. We receive funding from donations, the Ministry of Interior, the Estate Committee, the New Israel Fund and more. Our budgetary resources available in a year is 165,851USD.
Our mission is to case a widespread net – practical tools for democracy and social responsibility – over the factions, leaders, and community members of the Israeli-Arab community. We aim to:
- Integrate models for positive social activism.
- Dismantle barriers between social factions, local government, and law enforcement.
- Emphasize tolerance and moderation in Islamic culture and religion
Objectives: In 2017 we will…
- Facilitate 6 community leadership committees.
- 50 college students will mentor hundreds of youngsters in seven Arab towns.
- Deliver values/anti-violence presentations in 100+ schools, community centers, and mosques.
- Begin the development of a media campaign that includes video clips and internet campaigns.
Over the past five years we have created cooperative infrastructure among community leadership, “every-day” community members, religious leaders, police forces, schools, and colleges. Our key activities are:
- Lay-Leadership. Our successful community leadership model is replicable in every Arab community. The model includes local committees for social change; 15-20 members that unite from their community’s diverse social and rival groups to act for social betterment. Committees lead residents to implement anti-violence programs, cultivate action from municipal and religious leaders, and develop critical collaboration between residents and police departments.
- Youth Education. In partnership with Ono College, Arab college students bring anti-violence education into community schools. As volunteer mentors in their home communities, they can speak to the realities of their younger peers. They implement early values education through workshops on tolerance and coexistence for all ages.
- Strength in Numbers. We give presentations in Israeli-Arab communities nationwide, for adults and youth. We also unite different communities for joint actions against violence. Neighboring communities combine resources and experience to develop local programs regarding: youth at risk, violence against women, youth crime, clan rivalry and Islamic extremism.
- Religious Leadership: We work with local religious leadership to educate about moderation and tolerance in Islam. We encourage leaders to develop the mosque from a place only of prayer to a center that unifies the community for tolerance and positive social values.
- Rallying Resources. Arab leaders must realize their potential to drive the movement against violence in their community. Arab Knesset members, religious and social leaders have the ear of their people. Through our guidance, these leaders channel their influence to prevent violence.
After decades of alienation between Israeli law enforcement and Arab communities, we have brought about partnerships between local community leadership and law enforcement. We bring our strongest youth, young people who have achieved higher education, back to their villages for youth mentorship and education. We train professionals, doctors, lawyers, educators, to recognize, respond to, and support victims of violence. We work with Knesset members and participate in law-making sessions. We are also the media voice for anti-violence in Arab society, vocal in print, radio, television and internet media.