In Israel today, 70% of the population between the ages 18-45, both Jewish and Arab, cannot afford to participate in cultural events more than once a year. 75% of Israel’s peripheral and marginalized communities suffer from high rates of unemployment and lack of government investment and therefore most of the citizens living in these areas are not exposed to significant cultural events. The Israeli-Arab community faces an even more complicated situation because it is underprivileged in many aspects and the development of art and culture are a low priority in resource planning by the authorities.

Festival BeShekel, a non-profit organization founded in 2001 by a group of artists and activists for social change, recognizes that culture and art are an essential component of a healthy and democratic society, contributing to the intellectual capital and economic vitality of our communities as well as our understanding of the human experience.

Festival BeShekel nurtures a culture of understanding by encouraging cultural and artistic cooperation and dialogue between Jews and Arabs living in mixed communities in Israel. Through our project we aim to empower and unify these mixed communities through a constant dialogue between equals held in the universal language of art, a language which can help overcome differences, co-create and co-exist. We believe that in this fragile time it is even more crucial to make coexistence and artistic expression a genuine possibility.