American to cross Israel on bicycle for peace

Friday, January 19, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Josh Spizeman, a young New Yorker and a bicycle enthusiast, has decided to prove his commitment to advancing peace and understanding between Jews and Arabs by going on a two-week bicycle ride across Israel which he calls the “Ride for Peace.”

The trip, which has already begun, will take Spizeman from the northernmost city of Kiryat Shemona all the way to the southernmost city of Eilat. The purpose of the trip is to raise money for “Hand in Hand,” a center for Jewish and Arab education in Israel.

The organization promotes understanding between Jews and Arabs, as well as the multitude of cultures found in Israel and the region, through bilingual and multicultural schools. Classes are taught in both Hebrew and Arabic. The organization is also backed by the Jewish Federation of New York.

Today, Hand in Hand runs three such schools in Jerusalem, the Galilee, and Wadi Ara, with 750 students. Each school is managed by two principals – a Jewish principal and an Arab principal - and each class is taught by Jewish and Arab teachers. Students of all levels learn in both languages.

“The schools of Hand in Hand demonstrate the success of building real and strong bridges between Jewish and Arab communities,” Spizeman said. “I am very excited to ride my bicycle in the name of this organization.”

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