Language 'speed dating' attracts Jewish and Palestinian students in Jerusalem

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JERUSALEM, Nov 1 (Reuters) - A tiny radical of Israelis and Palestinians successful Jerusalem, a metropolis of political, spiritual and taste divisions, is trying to span a Hebrew-Arabic connection spread done learning modelled connected velocity dating.

About 20 students conscionable play astatine a 19th-century villa, and sitting together, Jew facing Arab, they practise each other's language, guided by cards spelling retired elemental scenarios that punctual dialogue.

When a whistle sounds each 20 minutes, participants rotate with caller partners crossed tables arranged nether colourful murals.

The encounters - speedy and cordial, if sometimes awkward - assistance the Palestinians to amended the Hebrew required for dealing with Israeli authorities, and the Jews to deepen their grasp of Arabic.

Most Palestinians successful Jerusalem unrecorded successful its eastbound sector, captured by Israel successful the 1967 Middle East war. Only basal Hebrew is studied successful East Jerusalem schools, making it hard for Palestinians to execute precocious proficiency.

Palestinians chat with Israelis during a connection speech programme modelled connected velocity dating, successful Jerusalem, October 27, 2021. Picture taken October 27, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

"And it's the aforesaid for Israelis - if they bash survey Arabic, it's an Arabic you can't use," said Maya Giz, a Hebrew teacher, referring to the classical, and not commonly spoken, mentation of the language.

Giz, who initiated the task successful 2019 with Sahar Mukhemar, a Palestinian sports teacher and a erstwhile pupil of hers, says the connection exercises are a "crossing of a intelligence border" betwixt the 2 peoples.

She said Palestinians and Israelis taking portion successful the programme stock "the aforesaid embarrassment of talking and ... (can) interruption this obstruction of fearfulness together".

Jamila Khouri, a Palestinian, said learning Hebrew could assistance her and others "merge good successful the assemblage and find a occupation accidental successful a bully field".

Jewish subordinate Eli Benita said the connection learning spoke volumes astir coexistence, successful a metropolis wherever tensions successful the Israeli-Palestinian struggle sometimes spill implicit into violence.

"I spot that this is the lone mode to scope immoderate benignant of a peaceful regular of beingness present successful this portion we unrecorded in," helium said.

Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Ed Osmond

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