Communal Strength

In April 2024, Daniel Hasson, the director of the Jerusalem Intercultural Center (JICC), travelled to Toronto and New York City to meet with Jerusalem Foundation professionals and other supporters, including participants from a Kaleidoscope tour group that spent several days in Jerusalem seeing JICC projects in action.


JICC is an independent non-profit organization with a vision for an inclusive, tolerant, and vibrant Jerusalem for all. It advances communal strength and future leadership by empowering city residents (Christian and Muslim Arabs, ultra-Orthodox, modern Orthodox and secular Jews) to be active and effective in shaping their shared future. Programs include the Mini-Active Organization – a grassroots empowerment network for Arab women; the Aa’ata Center & hotline for understanding and accessing legal rights related to national insurance and employment; and cultural competency workshops aimed at promoting tolerant discourse and relations between Jews and Arabs in shared workspaces, services, and education centers.


We caught up with Daniel to learn about his on-the-ground experience since his return to Jerusalem.


What was your impression of North American supporters following your April visit?

It was heartening being with so many concerned friends and supporters and knowing that North American communities are deeply invested in helping bring about the “day after.” It was and remains evident that so many people around the world are seeking what I work towards every day, a vibrant, more resilient Jerusalem.


How has the work of JICC been affected since October 7?

Someone living near the Gaza envelope recently said to me, “Despair doesn’t lead us to action,” and it struck a chord. These words have been guiding JICC since October 7th as we both continue our everyday work of building urban resilience in Jerusalem and reduce friction related to the war’s aftermath.


Our work has focused in three spheres – supporting women volunteers, providing cultural competency training and communicating a real-time understanding of the war’s impact in East Jerusalem.


In the first weeks of the war JICC identified Palestinian women and ultra-Orthodox women, who were volunteering in myriad ways, as key agents of change. JICC found ways to support their emotional wellbeing and morale through mental health workshops.


Cultural competency has always been a core part of JICC’s mission – can you tell us more about what that is exactly?

The State of Israel prides itself on the diversity of its workforce but when a stressor comes along there is a great need to reduce tension in the workplace. JICC held workshops and trainings in hospitals, hi-tech companies and municipal offices addressing the diversity in the workplace. The trainings were all designed to acknowledge tensions while at the same time find ways to reduce discord.


The JICC has a track record of reducing social tensions in previous heightened times like during the COVID-19 pandemic, the violence in May 2021, and the Judicial Overhaul. How is the JICC’s model of non-political approach to impart practical skills helping the Jerusalem community today?

JICC believes if people can carry out their lives as independently and as uninterrupted as possible then the chances for friction can be reduced.


JICC increased its cooperation with the municipality and the IDF Home Command in order to share in real time the needs of residents who were struggling. By ensuring East Jerusalemite residents were able to conduct their lives as independently and peacefully as possible, and that key municipal services will continue, this communication is essential.


Mini-Active, JICC’s women’s empowerment network, tracked the need for food, medication, shelter and communicated it to the necessary army and government officials. They also consulted with the army about the position of roadblocks ensuring that women and children were able to pass safely to school and home. 🪬



To learn more about the Jerusalem Foundation supported JICC, go here:


Read more about Director Daniel Hasson and the team at JICC:

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