The Jerusalem Intercultural Center



Need: Jerusalem is a city where many different cultures intersect with one another. While there is opportunity for coexistence and cultural collaboration, there is also a strong cultural divide. This has resulted in Jerusalem’s minority populations not being able to adequately access healthcare and other basic services, as well as an increase in racist and violent behavior in the form of verbal and physical attacks, from all sides, toward all sides.

Response: The Jerusalem Intercultural Center (JICC) was founded in 1999 with the goal of making Jerusalem a more participatory and culturally inclusive environment. It aims to assist the city’s residents from diverse backgrounds in becoming responsible, active partners in shaping the development of their communities and Jerusalem’s future, ensuring all residents have equal access to social, educational, religious, governmental, and health services — basic human rights. It seeks to organize and facilitate improved communication between different communities and the relevant agencies and service providers, to ensure the smooth and peaceful resolution of issues. Current initiatives aimed at achieving these goals include:

  • Cultural Competency seeks to ensure that service providers – in all fields – are sensitive to and respect the different cultures they serve, in a way that builds bridges of communication and facilitates resolution of issues. It also seeks to empower residents to be able to demand access to different services. Developed since 2008 it includes: Language training; cultural Sensitivity training; and cultural adaptations that make providing services not just easier, but more effective.
  • East Jerusalem Community Empowerment programs seek to assist Arab residents in accessing rights and services, and create networks of grassroots community leadership. The MiniActive grassroots empowerment program utilizes small groups of 4-5 people, mostly women, to problem-solve and fix issues regarding physical infrastructure in their neighborhoods. The East Jerusalem Emergency Readiness Networks (ERNs) enable responses to begin within neighborhoods with the use of local manpower and resources, significantly cutting down emergency response time, and facilitating cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian aid providers.
  • Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance utilizes community frameworks to construct a broad grassroots network of impassioned activists who seek to promote tolerance throughout Jerusalem. Activities include workshops, conferences and special citywide events that develop leadership skills and encourage dialogue. Advocacy efforts include working intensively in neighborhoods to help residents promote tolerance locally, as well as social media campaigns to promote tolerance on a broader scale.

Population Served: The JICC works with Jerusalem’s minority communities, ensuring their needs are met and empowering them to problem-solve through grassroots initiatives. Simultaneously, the JICC works with service providers to give them the proper cultural knowledge and awareness to cater to all of Jerusalem’s diverse populations.


  • Cultural Competency affects tens of thousands of Jerusalemites who are affected by its implementation in the health services fields, as well as other disciplines of implementation – academia, police, municipality (social services administration), and more.
  • MiniActive and the Emergency Readiness Networks (ERNs) operate networks of 1,500 Arab men and women volunteers, creating a newfound sense of community pride in residents’ abilities to respond to their own needs.
  • After two years of intensive work, the concept of ‘tolerance’ in Jerusalem is on the daily agenda in a variety of forums – municipality, NGOs citywide, and among hundreds of core activists are advancing grassroots initiatives to promote tolerance that engage hundreds of people, and are seen by tens of thousands each week on the Internet and social media.

Website: http://jicc.org.il/