Haifa – Between Reality and Vision for a Shared City


During the second Lebanese war in 2006, casualties and victims in Haifa were mourned regardless of their faith, gender, age or ethnicity. Some rockets also landed in Wadi Nisnas, which became one of the central Arab neighbourhoods of Haifa for the Arab population that could stay in their hometown after the Israeli-Arab war of 1948/1949.

Shatil is an organization founded to help build and strengthen civil society. It works for social change together with activists, organizations, networks, grass-roots groups and social movements in Israel and worldwide.  Shatil aspires toward a society based on equality of all citizens and residents of Israel – a society that believes in the principles of social, economic and environmental justice and works to achieve them; a society that promotes human and civil rights, respects religious and cultural differences, and recognizes the importance of shared society.

The war sparked Shatil to ponder about projects, how to increase the sense of togetherness in the diverse city. That is why Shatil launched the project “Haifa as a Model City of Joint Living”. This project comprised the study of best practice of shared living and its implication for Haifa. The results of this longterm activities were now summarized in a publication with the support of Hanns Seidel Foundation.

The book “Haifa – Between Reality and Vision for a Shared City” provides not only international case studies of a shared city, such as advocated since a long time by the Club de Madrid.  It also recounts the different narratives of the local population of Haifa, telling their experiences, joys and nuisances of living in such a diverse city.

Close to a hundred people participated Thursday, September 13th, in the festive book launch of Haifa – Between Reality and a Vision for a Shared City at the Haifa Museum of Art. During the launching event, attended by civil society leaders and citizens of Haifa, Club de Madrid Programs Coordinator Rubén Campos gave a presentation about “How to promote equitable development and Shared Societies” at the city level as part of an ongoing cooperation with Shatil and the Shared Societies Project.

The 500-page book, published by SHATIL, is the result of four years of research by SHATIL’s Haifa Shared City Project Steering Committee. It includes sections on the need for a truly shared society; international models for shared, egalitarian cities; as well as chapters specific to Haifa on planning, inter-community relations, employment and the economy, politics and protest, education, culture, and urban memory as well as photographs.




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