Following almost a decade of successful tourism projects run by Sikkuy – The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality – Shared Paths was established in 2015 by Sikkuy as a social tourism initiative aimed at promoting tourism in Arab towns in three main areas – the Southern Triangle, Central Galilee and Wadi Ara. As a result of its success, today Shared Paths is on its way to become an independent Arab Jewish non-profit social enterprise, operating as a social business, that aims to create social change through tourism. Shared Paths tells the story of Arab society through locally guided tours in Arab towns throughout Israel, touching on many aspects: history, culture, religion, identity, government policy, struggles and opportunities. The social mission is to forge closer ties between Jewish and Arab citizens and promote a shared society, by changing negative attitudes on both sides and to boost economic development at the local level.
Shared Paths works with local municipalities and residents to develop Social Tourism activities, to train local tour-guides, storytellers and home-hosts, and to build the infrastructure needed to operate its tours. Currently, Shared Paths operates tours mainly in four Arab cities – Shfaram, Sakhnin, Jaljulia and Tayibe; for four different target audiences – Jewish schools which want their pupils to be exposed to the Arab minority, businesses interested in cultural competence and employment diversity, general Jewish Israeli audience seeking to get to know Arab society, and groups from abroad whom are asking to be acquainted with all parts of Israel’s population. This directly impacts on two different areas:
Social Impact – Shifting attitudes, opinions, and behaviours of Arab and Jewish citizens through reducing mistrust and fears and advancing mutual understanding and respect, and thereby laying the foundation for sustainable long-term economic development.
Economic Impact – Advancing economic development through increased income for small business and tourism entrepreneurs.
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