School partnerships with Israel and the Palestinian territories
With the two states having a background of shared history, it is particularly important to the Federal Government of North Rhine-Westphalia to promote exchanges between North Rhine-Westphalian and Israeli schools. Since 2006, funding has once again been made available in the North Rhine-Westphalia state budget. The aim is to strengthen existing school partnerships and to support the establishment of new partnerships.
There are currently approx. 50 listed school partnerships of differing intensity between North Rhine-Westphalia and Israel.
To further intensify this programme, the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Education has split it into three sections:
Schools have the opportunity,
- to take part in an annual NRW contest.
There is a different motto each year, and the competition allows school groups to gain project funds to be used to facilitate and pay towards travel costs of a planned trip to Israel.
- to apply for travel grants for North Rhine-Westphalian pupils
- to apply for financial support for preliminary visits to initiate a new school partnership.
Exchanges should serve the promotion of mutual understanding and the development of long-lasting friendships. In preparing for a school exchange with Israel, pupils engage in specific topics from the past (the Holocaust) and from the present (such as the security situation in Israel and the Palestine territories, religion, family, leisure etc.). During the exchange, it is particularly important that pupils live with host families and take part in school lessons.
North Rhine-Westphalia also places particular importance on partnerships with schools in the Palestine territories, to allow and support mutual understanding and exchange between Palestinian and North Rhine-Westphalian youngsters. The NRW government promotes partnerships with schools in the Palestinian territories using the same programmes and stipulations as for school partnerships with Israel.
The information provided here and background documentation on these partnerships at offline.nrwisrael.de should not in any way be construed as being a statement with a view to the legal status of the autonomous regions of Palestine or future borders between Israel and the Palestinian territories.