Exchange Program with Tamra
Partnership with the Arab community of Tamra in Israel led by the motto:
Your house is my house
My house is your house
The partnership was set up in 1982
Quotations out of the brochure of the society “Landesjugendring Bremen e.V.”, an organization for young people in Bremen:
The Landesjugendring Bremen tries to establish friendships and tries to build bridges to people in other countries through international youth exchanges. Democratic youth exchanges feel a special duty to travel to Israel to express that they are willing to give a sign of reconciliation as throughout Europe the Jewish people suffered extremely badly under the Hitler regime with its massacres. To set a sign the Landesjugendring organized its first journey to Israel in 1962. In the bilateral youth exchange between Israel and Germany mainly Jewish people took part, the Arab minority of Israel were not integrated in this program. These youth exchanges enabled the youths to learn about the Jewish society. Whereas the problems of the Arab minority in Israel was – if at all – only remarked in passing.
It was the wish of Mr. Mohammed Kanaan, Lord-mayor of the Arabian town of Tamra and Mrs. Raya Rotem, speaker of the committee against the war in Libanon, on the occasion of their visit to Bremen in 1982 to establish this youth exchange with the Arab minority, namely the community of Tamra. The Landesjugendring Bremen was influenced positively by this wish”.
Declaration of the Landesjugendring Bremen on Febr. 1st, 1986 on the event of the youth exchange between the Arab community of Tamra and the people of the Landesjugendring.
The international youth exchange between the Landesjugendring Bremen and the Arab community of Tamra in Israel supports the idea of an international alliance, teaches mutual tolerance and helps the people of the two countries to understand each other better.
In this youth exchange between Israel and Germany mostly Jewish people took part. The visit to Israel gave them insight into Jewish society.
We think the integration of the Palestinian people in this youth exchange is an even better development.
To comment on the Near-East conflict as a German citizen requires to include our German history. A German who denies the history of this country and is of the opinion that history should be left aside would act as partner of the neonazis and suppresses our responsibility for our past and our future.
We, the young post war generation, are not guilty neither individually nor collectively. But we are confronted with our past and have reason to fear for the future. We cannot take care of our responsibility without the awareness of the past. In any case it is our responsibility to do everything that antisemitic feelings have no chance in Germany.
During our visit in Tamra we were confronted and always will be confronted with the problems of the Palestinian people. They live in Israel on homegrounds as second-class citizens. Since the colonialization of Palestine by the Jewish people 2,2 million Palestinians were deprived of their homegrounds and they now live in all parts of this world.
To act politically with an “iron hand” in the areas now occupied by the Israelis means deportation of the people involved or as we say today emigration of the Palestinians and expropriation of their homeland.
To show solidarity with the demands of the Palestinians is to define one’s attitude to their problems.
We support the Arab minority in Israel in their wish to receive a status of equality with the Jewish citizens.
Prerequisite to peace in that region is the dialog and the mutual acceptance of both the Jewish and the Palestinian people.
The Landesjugendring Bremen supports the right of the Palestinians to decide for themselves and for the Palestinians to have the right of a free state to themselves. Without coinciding with the rights of the Jewish people.
Autonomy of the Palestinians is more than just the right of having a homeland. It is the right of a Palestinian state with a political and cultural identity. One step on the way to peace in the Jewish-Palestinian conflict is Israel’s acceptance of the PLO as the representitive body of the Palestinian people. It is not for us to hand out a ready-made concept for a solution for peace. We are of the opinion that a longlasting peace in the Near-East can only be reached when confrontation turns into cooperation by all people in this region. Political and social conflicts in the Near-East can only be solved in this way. The Landesjugendring feels very much obliged to all people or groups who stand for this idea.
We feel the responsibility “to do politics” in this sense. Here in Germany we have to enlighten the people about the suppression of the Palestinian people. The Palestinians have to pursue their own fight for their legitimate rights. It is for us to support them and for this reason the youth exchanges are taking place.
History of the Partnership
Beginning of the Nineties the Landesjugendring Bremen e.V. and the Förderkreis Bremen-Tamra dissolved. For the continuation and the support of the partnership with the community of Tamra the Bürgerhaus Hemelingen could be won and in 1992 the first delegation of people from Hemelingen were on their way to Tamra. The counter visit of the people from Tamra followed in 1993 and between the two countries a “contract of friendship” was made. Unfortunately during the visit of the delegation from Tamra in 1997 their lord-mayor Dr. Hisham Abu Rumi suffered a heart attack and died in Bremen. Under competence of the Bürgerhaus Hemelingen and the advisory council of Hemelingen the exchange of youths turned into an exchange of people of all ages of Hemelingen and the city of Bremen, their motto being:
My house is your house
Your house is my house
This exhange in practice is carried out in yearly rotation: One year the people of Bremen spend a fortnight in Tamra staying with families, the following year the delegation from Tamra spends a fortnight with the families in Hemelingen and Bremen who visited them the year before. In doing so a personal friendship can develop. One advantage of staying in families is, one can experience the culture of the other country and can gain a concrete insight in the social life and the social environment the families live in. The familiy that acts as a host plans various programs, a political program (visit of political parties, social institutions etc.), an economical program (visit to companies) and a touristic program. In doing so the exchange stays within a reasonable pricing and also not so well-off people can afford to take part. This international relationship turns people into allies, teaches mutual tolerance and understanding for each others problems. Solidarity with the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people means to stand up for their right. The Bürgerhaus Hemelingen is willing to support the peace process for the Arab minority in Israel and is for equal rights with the Jewish people. It is our responsibility to do politics here in this sense, meaning in particular to inform about the suppression, grievance and unequality of the Palestinians in Israel. For greater distribution of the impressions gained during these exchanges the delegation of Hemelingen and Bremen changes its part-takers in the aforementioned yearly rhythm. In April 2000 the Hemelingen/Bremen delegation visited Tamra and in July 2001 we will welcome our friends from Tamra here in Bremen. The next Hemelingen/Bremen delegation will travel to Tamra during the Easter school holidays in 2002. People who are interested are requested to contact the Bürgerhaus in Hemelingen now.
The exchange Tamra/Hemelingen/Bremen is financed by the families. The cost of each person travelling to Tamra is estimated at approx. DM 1.000,--. The cost in the following year when guests from Tamra are expected is estimated at approx. DM 500,--, the cost of living and staying of the guests in the family of the host is not counted.