Israeli school twinning program tapped for Jerusalem Unity Prize

JERUSALEM (JTA) – An Israeli program that aims to build bonds between the country’s schools and their Diaspora counterparts was recognized with a Jerusalem Unity Prize.

The Global School Twinning Network, a program of The Jewish Agency for Israel, was tapped in the global category for an award founded in memory of three Israeli teenagers kidnapped and murdered by Palestinians in the summer of 2014.

The prize was announced during an event Thursday at the Peres Center for Peace in honour of the Jewish Agency’s Partnership2Gether, or P2G program, sponsor of the twinning network.

It will be awarded officially at in a ceremony hosted at the residence of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on June 1, observed as International Unity Day with commemorations and educational events taking place all over the world.

The network features the participation of tens of thousands of students at more than 650 schools in Israel in joint educational activities and interacting online, while faculty members engage in joint training.

“The Global Schools Twinning initiative showcases the very best of Jewish communal life through its efforts to bridge gaps and is proof that the Jewish people remains as united as ever,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who is chair of the Prize Committee, said in a statement. “This is a strength that enables us to overcome any challenge.”

The Jerusalem Unity Prize was founded in memory of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach and launched by Barkat along with the teens’ families and the Gesher organization. Three other prize recipients will be named for local and national initiatives.

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