Webinar Transcript: Putting the Green Line on the Map with Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Chen Arieli

Hadar Susskind  00:04

Hello, everybody, and welcome to today's APN webinar. For those of you who are veterans of this experience, you know that this is the part where I filibuster for a minute and wait for everybody to actually get logged into the Zoom. So I'm Hadar Susskind. I'm the president and CEO of Americans for Peace Now, I am happy to see you all with us today and grateful to you for taking some time to join us. We will get started in just a moment and introduce our special guests for today, which I'm very excited about that. But we're still watching those participant numbers tick up. So I will give that another minute. And then we will get things going. Chen, when you are ready to come on back on camera, that would be great. And okay, so once again, hello, everyone. Welcome to today's Americans for peace now webinar. I'm Hadae Susskind, the President and CEO of APN. Thank you all for joining us, we are grateful that you are taking some time out of your day to be with us. Before we open our conversation, just a couple of technical reminders. As always, we are recording this webinar, we will share the video we will share the audio and the transcript as well. For those of you who want to ask questions, please use the q&a function at the bottom of the screen. You can type in your questions at any time. And we will do our best to get to as many of them as we can. I do remind you and urge you to please keep them focused on today's topic. I know folks always have lots of questions about a lot of things, but we want to try to stay on topic. So today, we are very pleased to be joined by a special guest Chen Arieli. Chen is the Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv and she is a longtime social activist. She's particularly been a leader on LGBTQ issues, women rights issues in Israel. And so also serves as a co chair of the Aguda which is Israel's LGBTQ outreach Task Force. She has been an incredible progressive leader on so many issues that so many of us care about, and particularly on this question of maps, and in her role as deputy mayor has really led the charge around this. So I think hopefully, you've all seen in our emails and in our social media, some of the news around this really exciting step that they've taken. I don't want to, I don't want to take too much time and tell you about it, because Chen is the one behind it. So I'm just gonna say we're really thrilled to have you join us today to tell us about this amazing work that's going on and what you're doing in the schools in Tel Aviv now. So with that said, I'm going to turn it over to you.

Chen Arieli  02:58

Thank you, I'm so happy to be here. I'm happy to be here to be with this project that it's one of my, my, my heart is invested in this project so much. It's actually started as a small story that I would be happy to share with you today and to answer the questions. Two and a half years ago, actually, it started a parent from the municipality, no notice that in his kids school books, there's strange maps of Israel, like with no borders, or with different shapes that not marking the nations around us. And he started asking questions, and he approached a council member named Maria, which is a friend of mine, and they both came to me and they said, Listen, we will notice that the maps are not accurate to the reality. Let's look into it. And we started looking into it. And we investigated and when we kind of noticed that there's no officially maps that are used in the education system in Israel. And more than that, not just the education system in Israel, at the youth movements as well or in any other informal education gatherings. And we started thinking about it and exploring the notion and the idea that the perception of space is something that we would like to affect as a municipality; that we can interfere in that and want to give the kids to grow up in the city. in Israel, but we're only in charge of the Tel Aviv. The option to kind of develop their identities that is based on the perception of space. That is accurately reality and not with the blind spot. I believe that a map is always a political document. But it is also the demographic paper that needs to show the reality as it is. And by growing up generations and generation with this severe blind spot record regarding the reality of Israel and the borders and the occupation is, is actually doing worse than solving the problem because the blind spot is making us wrap kids in a country that are not in the narrative of shared society and in the narrative of peace of building those life together. And the map is actually for me, I live in Jaffa, I live in shared society neighborhoods. So for me to explain in my in my life has this shared society values, it's if you know, reality, you know how to act with reality, and you know that we have no choice, we're all here and we need to live together. And, and I think most of the tension that we have in this society between Arabs and Jews are based on lack of information and that blind spot that we have just looking on the demographic on on the the map of the land, and to first give it acknowledgement. And second, talk about the complicity. And when you grow up in Israel, you didn't get to know this complexity just when you turn 18, when you get to the military, or when you're 21, when you're done before getting into university, or just when you're 35 and you're seeing the news. It's, it's not good for the country, we're growing up citizens without awareness. And I love this place I want, I want Israel to be a better place. And I think one of the ways to do it is to put that map on the walls; and, you know, the Israeli media. Put the green line that we put on the maps in the middle of the conflict. But it's not, it's not just that the project talks about the perception of space that we live in is crucial to the perception of reality; my home, my neighborhood, my city, my state, and also the graphical space, the wider geographical space, are actually the context inside of the identity  building that each one of us is doing in the soft years, during schools. And for years, the map of the country was changed was shrinked, and the borders were here or there; and the finer borders not stated yet until this moment. So different governments chose from different reasons. To put the question of the space on answer. It's led to earn verbal reality, work to close classrooms can show two different maps, and in the pockets of the kids, they have the internet. So they have the international map around Israel, they chose the reality as seen from the outside. And it it really doesn't allow kids to to get where they're growing up. And every kid in Israel  deserve to know where is the map and we believe that it's our job as a municipality, to give the students, the kids the perception of space that is reliable and accessible out of the Israeli perspective. And it's roughly a composition of three maps. I don't know if you saw the map, but you have on the map, you have a map of Tel Aviv, which is the city and you can put yourself where your street is where your school is where your community center is where you see your neighborhood, and the large one is the map of Israel of course. And the third map is actually population map of the area of the Middle East. And it is actually allows the perception of space in those three dimensions on those three stages. And I think when we're talking about the map, it's important for me to say that it's not just about those harsh realities; the green line or the burgundy line that we're going to talk about it. I think we put on the map, if you want to talk about the green line for a second. So we put on the map.

Hadar Susskind  10:39

yes, please do.

Chen Arieli


We noticed that, that there's a government decision from 1967, that decide to take out the green map out of the official maps of Israel. And when we look back at that decision, we thought that we need, we need to kind of undo that decision and to bring back that line, because it's a part of reality. And it's part of reality, especially when you compare it to the sovereignty line. And I want to explain what I what we call in Hebrew, and you have in the map,you have the green line, then, and there's the burgundy line, and I'll explain what does it mean. This is like the area that of the occupied territories, their territories that Israel annexed formally, and applied its law, applied it Servantes. So the Golan Heights, for example, in the East Jerusalem were annexed our the rest of the West Bank is under a military ruling.  You think I am opening it I know, to explain in English that you can understand the difference between the green line we put in and the other line that I'm talking about. And if you see the fall off the map, I hope you have it, and you can see it on your computers. You can see the difference within those lines. And it's actually emphasize the complicity that's need to be talked about, or to see Israeli. Israeli cities are small, our small villages inside of this line, that are that the Israeli law is not put on them. And like some of the settlements that are inside the line, and this is really uncatchable. And kids need to understand that and they need to be able to ask question regarding that. And to see that in their own eyes. And to see the the differences between the A line and the B line and the A territories and the B territories. And they need to grow up with those terms, clear to them. And, you know, although I'm, you cannot blame me that that I'm not I'm a political figure. I'm a public official. And I'm from the left and it's clear, but we really too cautious of not putting a left perception on the map. And we want it to give reality as it is. Because we knew immediately that the media will take it to that area like it's, it's the left and the right. And it's not it's in, it's not against anyone. We're not against the education ministry. We're not against the right wing people in Israel, we're not against anyone we're against censoring the reality. We are in favor, the kids and in favor of   growing up kids without this blind spot, and for our generations it may be lost. But for the next generation, this is what we need to give them;the ability to get rid of this horrifying blind spot that Israeli society is growing up on. The narrative, look, we had four election systems, and we're in the middle of the fifth one. And the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not one of the topics that are even talked about, we need to see that is a red flag because it's not even...It's not even in Friday discussions around the table. And we need to bring those topics back because this is our reality. Of course we have other realities, such as poverty, such as the economical status, such as moving forward from COVID But all of that while we have having the occupation and the situation on those areas, we need to work here as a society with those understandings and to bring the ability to discuss them from a young age. And at the first one we just wanted, we actually approached, we tried to find official maps, but not, not this. Everyone told us that there is no formal unit. No formal unit to form a map? There's several. So you cant find one in the in history book that is like that. And the other in geographical book, it's the other and there's not like the official. Can you imagine that the United States does not have an official map? It's it's uncatchable. It's interesting. Yeah.

Hadar Susskind  15:55

You know, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and again, it may not be the official map of the of the State of Israel. But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the embassies and consulates, certainly here in the US, and I assume in other places in the world, gives out maps all the time. It gives maps to, you know, to governments, to congressional office, things like that. It gives maps, we were talking before about Jewish youth movements and synagogues. If you walk into a Jewish Day School, like where my kids went to school, there were maps on the wall that they got from the Israeli government from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And they, of course, do not show the green line. So a quick question for you, you know, you talked about how, yes, maps are political, but that the idea behind this map is not political. It's actually just showing what's there. Showing the reality, which has been, you know, kept off of other maps. So you talked about, it's got the three different maps, certainly the green line conversation has been the biggest piece. I know, there's been back and forth between the municipality and the Ministry of Education there about about this project. Can you tell us more about that?

Chen Arieli  17:08

I think that as a municipality, we cannot interfere. The curriculum of that is learning schools. The system of the local governments in Israel is quite different than in the States or in Europe. And actually, we're not independent by our education system or welfare system, or, or or in so we get funding from the National level and welfare education and you also put fundings from the municipality, but we are banned under the National Law, we don't have any local bills in any way the system is, is kind of giving the most of the power to the national authorities and municipalities are obey to be under those those bills and administration's. And official governmental offices, such as the education ministry, ministries, but did Aviv Yafo is as the only metropolis in Israel. And we found ourself, many years we were talked about as a bubble of Tel Aviv who was referred to as a bubble. But I believe that we're not a bubble, I believe that we're a lighthouse that needs to understand its power, and with one of the most famous and known cities around the world, and we have the possibility to, to put light under topics that we believe are important and maybe to affect other places in Israel. So it's not just affecting local systems, it's also affecting and bringing the light outside of Tel Aviv because we're big municipality and we're strong municipality we can we can allow to do that. And it's a privilege. I know it's a privilege, but you know, you cannot be apologetic about. It's like I cannot be apologetic for being white or Jewish. But it's actually the question what I'm doing with my privileges, if I'm putting using them to try to help those who don't have those privileges, or using my privilege to be courageous and brave, and to put to put on the tables topics that I think needs to be discussed. You know, the occupation was not discussed in the Israeli media for a long time, and for the past few weeks around the maps it was a topic. So sometimes, it's also a thing. And it's also important, I didn't need it. Of course, we haven't done it for this PR. We worked on that project for two and a half years because it was hard, it was hard to convince the system to do it. Because it's a brave step, you need to be brave and courageous to take that declaration and statement. And I answered before, we're not against the education ministry. And we're not interfering the curriculum, we are just giving the option of seeing reality as it is, we had schools that asked us not to send them the maps from from the stream of religious religious state education. And we said okay won't send you the maps. But from the other hand, we got hundreds of letters from parents in the city saying, I'm so proud that my kid got home today and and told me that the map that we heard in the news is on the wall, and we get pictures with the maps on the walls. And it's really, I trust the system that we know how to bring those topics, where to supervise discussion with the kids. This is why it needs to be in classrooms, and not just, you know, if I wanted to provoke I could just take the map and hang it around the streets in Tel Aviv. But the provocation is not what the method that led us. And it took us that that much time because we had special professionals that are working on that and every every line and every short unit on that map, we thought about it, and we discussed it and we decided and what key in what, what what to put it in and what not to put in it. For example, in Gaza or in the Golan, we have a notion known to the small places that you cannot find all around Israel. Because, there's, we needed to work based on a key of size the population. But we wanted kids that are hearing when there's bombing on Gaza, that we'll see where is those places that are doing in the news. And in the north borders as well, and this is not telling us that. The right wing can say 'okay, this is for, in favor of the right wing and the right narrative'. We did it and it's a liberal action. So I'm I'm more than willing to be blamed for being liberal, democratic by doing that, and I'm, I'm proud that the mayor and the system believe that we can we need to do that and bravely walk through with me to this project. Hopefully, the maps will stay on the walls.

Hadar Susskind  23:18

So let me just note real quick a couple of people have asked about posting links to the map. The article, the Haaretz article that was posted here, has the map in it, but I don't have a link directly to the map otherwise so folks can look at it.

Chen Arieli


The map is not online yet. We have we have photo copies, because we have a lot of requests outside of Tel Aviv, everyone wants a map. It's a beautiful map I'm you know, I have maps in the car and  in the past two weeks, every meeting that I am stepping into I'm taking one map with me because I know that they'll ask me if I brought with me me a map. So we were thinking about putting it online on the municipality website that everyone can download it and print it, but it's it will take a while. But I can send you the file in high resolution that you can send to whom is interested and you can really see the map and see the work that is was done; really long months and years until we printed it and send it to schools and it's education ministries. Their first response was it's amateur map and this is was, my heart was broken to hear it because it's not. We put really a lot of professional efforts in their maps. So you can be criticism about that, but it's not unprofessional.

Hadar Susskind  23:45

Yeah. So, we will again, you can see the link in that article the link afterward which is to an APN piece talks about the English language sort of similar versions that we are interested in doing here. We are working on getting a screenshot of this up, I hope we will be able to do so. So I asked you for your your indulgence and your patience. So, you know, one of the things you talked about how was how in 67, the decision was made not to show the green line on maps. Now, there was probably one set of reasons for that in 67. But basically every government since then, you know, 56 years, five years, five years now, you know, has has kept that decision. And like you said, there may not be one official government map, but if you see what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs puts out, if you see simply the fact that the Ministry of Education, you know, objected to what you were doing. You know, I'm asking you a very big question. But why do you think that's been. Why is that and why has that been the position of the Israeli government to not have the green line?

Chen Arieli  25:56

I think from going back to 67, it wasn in October 67, the Cabinet erased the green line. It happens right after the war. And it's clear to me that I wanted to present the world that is no more this line between the line is does not exist. And they will put it off the map. I can. I'm not agreeing with that. But I can understanding that the position that they that the governor wanted to impose to the world. By the way, Moshe Dayan, was which was then the security minister, he said that the map is not how the setting is to meet the needs. Yeah, it's of a political program. It's a topographical and geographical marking. And we actually took that, from that statement statement back in 67. And we said, it is a great geographical marking, and we're, we're putting it like this. And, you know, we're not, we're not in Kansas anymore. We're not in 67 anymore. We all woken up since then, we had Oslo, in Oslo, we had partial ruling to the authority. We're not we cannot exist today in education based on a committee that was 55 years ago. But I think that that, because it's complicated for ministries all all over those 55 years during those years, didn't want to deal with those hard questions. Because, you know, if you have a kid and , I don't know, within an age of 10, coming back to the teacher and asking, what is the green line, you need to explain much more than than just one sentence in the line? It's opened the huge pile of questions that are complicated, the Israel reality is complicated. But the fact that is complicated, doesn't mean that we does not need to talk about it. And I think it's the crucial thing is to talk about it since the beginning of our perception of space, that we know that where the countries are, who are the countries that around us, what is the population around us in the Middle East? And and what, what effect does it have on us. The map is not just a political tool, it's also a learning tool for any lesson in the class.  for history lesson for literature, lesson four, for social lessons, lessons for any lesson can use by the map, for example, when you see it, you see that the small map on the on the right side down on the right side, this is the population centers of the Middle East. So you can see how Israel's small in the size of the population, when you look on all the countries around us. But you can also see where people are choosing to sit;on mountains near the near the ocean. So you can learn so much about humanity and history by you looking at a map, that is the map of reality. It's much more than the political layer or the political awareness that that we want to give. It's, it's learning about the human mind. It's learning about how people act and react to the land that they live on. And I think that everyone needs to be in the same interest of giving that to kids. Just good things, just good things can can arise out of it. I really don't know why, I think people are scared from the complicity. People are scared And from opening this one box of talking about the line, and what is the difference within the green line and the other lines? And then what is the difference between the Golan Heights and, and the east of Jerusalem? And and you learned in us that the settlements are are getting Israeli ruling inside of the Palestinian territories. So what is that this is something that is also complicated. It's quite remarkable that I've been what you're talking about as much as you and people around us, I've been accused of, you know, taking this as a political action.

Hadar Susskind  30:19

Again, as you just described it, what you're showing is not only the green line, but the geographic and human reality in and around Israel. And the fact that that has been lacking in the education that generations now of Israeli kids have gotten is, frankly, a terrifying political statement. I mean, that shows that people were were unwilling to show the reality because they didn't want to talk about those questions that you just raised. I'm curious, you talked about, you know, meeting with other people and some of the responses you've gotten, have, have there been, or can you talk about conversations with any other municipalities I know, Tel Aviv is obviously by far the biggest, but are there others that are looking at using these maps or something like it?

Chen Arieli  31:27

Of course, but I can be honest, and also said, we have some we have also gotten some criticism from Zionist religious cities that said that we haven't put enough that religious Zionist cities or places on the map. And we didn't, for example, we haven't written on the map Gush Etzion. We haven't marked it, but we then do those we have made made those decision because we're against that religion. Actually, to mark all Zionist regions, as the settlement is, like Gush Etzion. For Israelis living in Tel Aviv, and in given time, and in Haifa; we're not connected with this stream of belief and ways of living. But we had a really, Israel is really crowded, so we needed to find the key, how to relate to and to decide how we put our will decide which city or or, or Kibbutz or village to put on the map. So we use two keys combined, we investigated online and our, our professional team, actually, we're advising with other professional teams from abroad how to how to use the key, and we decided eventually to bring to use the key of the size of the population. And the crowd area. For example, in the area of, of Jerusalem, it's so crowded, so I cannot get into technically, I cannot write all all the small places that are around Jerusalem, I don't have placed in this little square in the map, I had to choose by the size of the population, we kind of step outside vision

Hadar Susskind  33:40

Population density.

Chen Arieli  33:42

Yeah. And kind of we step outside this key, just as I mentioned before, in Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, because we wanted to put small population ;small villages or regions farms that are in the news where with political tension in the area. So kids can see it in the news at home and they can come to school the next morning and see on the map and see this red, you can you can see Gaza Strip there, and to see those those places that are talked about on the news. So we could actually stepped out of this key in favor of the wider narrative that that our both sides need to, to, to to think of, of ways to live here on  piece and in shared society in a shared solution that will be agreed and, and also the criticism we got from from this area was about the border that we put  outside of the green line, you can see. I don't know if you can see that in that resolution, but I also talked about it in the beginning of my beginning of our discussion. We, they were mad that we call the sovreignity line. And I explained what I know the thing in English, sovreignity line is a harsh word, but I especially mentioned why what it meant for us and why it's different than a regular line that we put on the map. Because we put it on the map. The map actually includes different kinds of borders, okay, official borders with other states, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, it's a straight, red line. But the other line is as not a straight line in the same color is actually the land that the Israeli law is banned on. And from the other side, it's whether it's the Gaza Strip, or the West Bank, does not exist in other countries. So it's not a border with another country. And we need, we wanted to mark that difference. And they were mad at that that were invented. And we did not invent a term, we just explained the reality. And they said that we needed to call it a border, such as the straight red lines that we we you have on Egypt and Syria and Lebanon in all of the other countries. And this was a huge issue around around the publicity of the maps. This special line and we are standing on our opinion, that is this is actually reality. It is not official line, because official line is when you have agreement between two countries is not. Yeah, so they're really mad at us by taking that and I think it's also common  of, of this very position to to try to explain it. You know, it's it's hard to explain, it is hard to explain. It's occupied. It's complicated. We all know that.

Hadar Susskind  37:39

It's occupied or uncomplicated.

Chen Arieli  37:41

It's occupied and complicated.

Hadar Susskind  37:42

So you know, there was actually I don't know if you saw this, there was an article that Christian Gorenberg wrote about your maps in the Washington Post. And so I think that's probably the piece that most people here in Washington at least saw, we shared it with people, we've shared this with people in Congress in the State Department, because, you know, there are often complaints regularly from conservative voices primarily about, you know, somebody or another showing a map that says Palestine, right and doesn't and doesn't acknowledge Israel. And oftentimes, those are maps or, you know, literally the entire area from the river to the sea is marked as Palestine. And people understandably, object to that, or, depending on what the situation is. So actually, there was a lot of surprise from people who I spoke to here, who don't spend all their time on this, that Israeli maps, then don't show the green line and don't represent sort of the reality on the ground. In a lot of ways. I'm curious if you have gotten responses, have you heard, you know, sort of international responses American or actually otherwise, are there? You know, have you gotten responses from the Palestinian side from others in the Arab world Europeans?

Chen Arieli


I have to say, first of all, that I'm a part of a program called the Alliance and the Alliance is a Palestinian Israeli leadership partnership that I'm a part of, and the most emotional responses came out of that room for me and this is a this is a personal because they're my friends and colleagues. This is the leadership group and and I think the existence of that project, actually in my life actually drove me into getting in getting myself into that project to begin with, because they're my friends and we're arguing about everything that comes in daily news, and it's my most busy WhatsApp chat group on my phone and This is, for me building shared society, because I'm working with those leaders. And some of them are my colleagues from other municipalities, some of them are involved in Palestinian politics. And the most emotional response came from them. And the most emotional interview that I had was with the Palestinian radio. And it's, of course, that that that, in the Israeli media, I got criticized, and, and I had harsh interviews, and, you know, with the report and Palestinian side, it was interviews of hope. Like, they asked me hard questions, but I said, I think we had a mutual interest to put it the reality on the map. And I think, I think it's, it's, it's obvious why .I have to say that we, we were on working on the map we want we really wanted to do Hebrew-Arab map, but it's so crowded that the land is so crowded, so we could not put it inside. And we decided, because we have schools in Jaffa that are the main language that are talking is Arab.  So we had a map exactly like that map, just only in Arabic. And we had a lot of discussions about that. Also, are we writing the original names of the places? And for example, in that, in that decision, we said no, because the map is not an historical project to map is the current reality project. And we're putting the names as, as the the names that are used today. So and I think it was the right decision because promoting a historical project is a different project. And it's maybe it's my next project but I'm proud to say that we also have on my in my office, I have two maps hang one of the Arab version and one of the Hebrew version because I think it's it was a good decision of printing also a map that kids in first grade and second grade when they're learning to read and write their their mother language, they can also see on the map and read on the map things that is easier than Hebrew for them and it's I think it was an amazing decision. And I also before we printed it up we advise with Arab school principals from the principality, about the political, the dangerous political terms on the map and Arab and Arabic so so we won't have you know, from good intention will will do something that can be offensive offensive or. So I think you're starting to understand why this project that took so so long because every step of the way you need to stop and ask, right? Is it official area? And if so, what is the other official area that is not on the map. So this is-- and writing and putting things on the map is taking a political stand. And this is why you should always not every map because it's not an official every each to put them out-- a map allowed to come out in English.

Hadar Susskind  43:55

I'm stuck on the name I don't know keep going I'll get to it.The Cave of the Patriarchs?

Chen Arieli  44:04

Yeah, so we asked the question if to put it on a map or not because this is definitely a place that kids are are hearing on the news. But we decided it's not an Israeli territory so we're not putting it on the map. So every small thing really it's really every small thing on the on the map was considered and talked about and debated about and we do get out for for advising and eventually well I know every map has mistakes I'm sure we under that map we also have mistakes so but I still am hopeful that it was the it will be a project that every two years we're gonna update the map and print in new ones. So hopefully,

Hadar Susskind  44:53

I think it's amazing to have them in Hebrew and in English. And again, we want to have them in or in Arabic. I mean, we want to have them in English. as well, I want to just point out something really quickly to everyone. That Washington Post article that we were talking about, we've put into the chat. So if you want to see that, there you can, you can see it.

Hadar Susskind  45:15

I know one of the questions that I wanted to ask which coming in again, as some of these others out of the q&a, you know, you already talked about the scale and the densities, you know, in the population size. So that may answer this question. But a question came up about whether you put any of the, whether you made an effort to put the the unregistered Palestinian communities inside of Israel onto the map. So I think I think your question is probably particularly about perhaps, you know, some of those Bedouin communities in the Negev. And whether that was part of this thinking process at all?

Chen Arieli


Well the question is of the size of the population. Um, and I think on, in the Negev, we wrote, the bigger version of the Bedouin cities and the small villages, none of the small villages are here, not none of Jewish or Arab, or we just put a small kibbutz in Hulda, which our mayor came from. And this is almost like a tribute to the mayor that  we put his kibbutz on the map, because I thought it was a nice gesture. Yeah. But the key is for all communities, the only places we stepped outside of the key was was the place that I noticed that wanted to kind of connect the kids with what they hear on the news. Because for me this like, being in reality at home, hearing the news, talking to families, you know, many of the kids have families in the northern and the south. So and coming back to the map at the classroom and saying, Oh, well, where's the on the map? I want them to be enthusiastic about the map and finding things in the map. And I think questions, if you look closely, I don't think you can look closely in the font that you have, and I will when when we finish talking, I'll send you and you can send it to all the people registered

Hadar Susskind  47:19

Yeah, you can send it to everyone.

Chen Arieli  47:21

Yeah, when you zoom in to the to the map, you see that we also put the grid of the the big streets of in every city, because we wanted to show the kids how the cities how to look at the grid of the city and to see the density of population and we taught a lot of things that are not talked in the media. And by taking this, this map this ornament on the wall of the classroom to be like a door to whole word that can be discussed about so many things. I have many parents are asking about their homes. And I have I have teachers outside of Tel Aviv asking maps to decorate their classrooms.

Hadar Susskind  48:12

I know you're going to be able to, to distribute those to give them to other teachers or parents who want them.

Chen Arieli  48:17

Hopefully, we'll be able to do that soon.

Hadar Susskind  48:21

Good. I have a two part question for you. One, one came in the q&a, and then I'll add my own piece. So question off the q&a was, again, congratulating you on the municipality and the municipality on this effort, but also saying, you know, what do you think is next sort of is there another thing that can be added into the education process? And I want to, let's keep that sort of, to the map. Concept, not totally different. And I want to ask about a specific thing, because in the maps that we are talking about, for the US, one of the things that I think is important, and I know this is different than what you've already done, is trying to really show as much as possible, all of the small settlements, and whether you settlement in the general term, whether we're talking about, you know, Jewish, Israeli, or Palestinian villages or Bedouin in the south, because one of the things that we so often see here, and when especially when we talk to policymakers is if you look at a map of the West Bank, you know, you're gonna see the biblical cities on it. And you'll see maybe, maybe you'll get a rail, maybe you get, you know, one or two sort of, you know, a couple of big things, but you don't really get any understanding of what settlements both  Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian look like, and that, that physical reality that you were talking about. And so you're talking about it for educating Israeli children. We want to talk about it for educating American members of Congress also. So what do you think about you know about doing that kind of project and is there something else around the maps that you are thinking about also,

Chen Arieli  49:55

I think putting a map with all the settlements and and all The small places are important, but it's not. I don't think it's for this stage. And I think that maybe it's an advanced discussion that we need to give in the system just to kids that are 18, turning 18 going to the army and and getting to get their first voting privilege. I think, you know, for, like being a left wing member or member , I want to, I want to see it myself. But I think that I think that the map, as it is now give the perception of this complexity. Without those all places, we could have put inside, inside the West Bank, the settlements. But it's also a political stand for in our eyes and wanted to stay neutral. And I think when you're talking about education, it's important to present a neutral position. And this is why also I can get be criticized by from the radical left side of the political map in Israel, that I haven't put all the settlements in ,left out of picture. And I think that, especially when you're talking about kids on that you need to put the complexity as it is. But it's also it's, you cannot put all, if we put all the spots on the map, we can see nothing Youll see a dark Spot This is like, it's like the blind spot, you'll see many, many dots and you cannot be served. This is why we chose to do this key. And any any map of Israel is not that I think organizations such as you and such as other organizations in Israel, are sure, sure have maps with all the settlements, I know them and I saw them and I'm visiting those territories on a regular basis. And I think it's too soon to put it in schools.

Hadar Susskind  52:28

I think for different projects, for sure.

Chen Arieli  52:31

Yeah, it's different projects, and also, to a higher level I think of growing up, because, but you know, if you have that, so you're allowing kids to ask the question where there are other more settlements, and then they can find they can, you know, we have Google, it's 2022. This is the the absurd that on the walls of the of the classrooms, they have no maps, or maps that are not describing reality. And in their pockets, they have all the maps that they want. They have the maps of the settlements, they have the maps of the Arab historical places, they have the map of the Jewish historical places, they have the map, and someone needs to make an order in all this confusing narratives that are online and in the media and and who is better to do that, then your teacher or your principal, or the one is, is is in charge, on your education in a supervised environment that can answer your questions in a responsible way. And I think I think, I think the next step is really to free that, that map to all the ones who want to use it. And I think the next step is maybe to put it on community centers and around the city and to wider the discussion outside of schools, in places that can be talked about. Hope hopefully, it will stay hanging on the walls. And kids you know, every every picture that I get a school of school classroom, with, with the map on the wall, it's it's a big success in my eyes, it's it's there, it's the reality, even if 10% of the students are looking at it, and the kid the teachers are not talking about it at all. We change reality even in that small percentages. I really hope it will be larger and wider and it will also raise the awareness in other educational systems such as systems that train teachers to be Teachers, colleges for education, teachers, and hopefully it's a product here to stay in the developing to, We specially actually chose to use and open code data on the map so we can it when the time is right, we can send it to everyone. And we don't have to worry about the rights of the data or I don't know if you know that. But when you're holding a map, it's not just putting the map like you need to buy the data out of the countries or out of the country. We have in Israel, I think you have it in the States as well. Called. Let me see, I think I wrote down is preparing. It's called the Center of history of Israel is Israel that's doing maps. If I need a map of Tel Aviv, I need to contact them and like they're working with me on the data. So we specifically use data that is free for use. So we can release it in the next time. Step to everyone.

Hadar Susskind  56:23

That's great. So when one more quick question for you, if we you've talked a little bit about the issue is the conflict, whatever you want to call it with the Ministry of Education, and that some of the people, some people haven't been happy, is there? Is there a legal challenge? Like you said, you hope the maps stay on the wall? Is there some is there some challenge to get them off?

Chen Arieli  56:48

Well, we're still checking that. I think that I must emphasize that we're not against the education ministry working and collaborating with the ministry in a great way. And Julia Mon, which is the head of the education system in Tel Aviv, is a great partner of the education ministry. And hopefully, we are we're sure we don't want it to interfere in the learning programs. And it's just an offer to the kids in the city. And we hope it will be finishing that perception that we're we mean, we mean, no harm meant to be to be in favor of the kids and not against any other. These are different communities around Israel. The kids in Israel needs to grow up with reality. And sometimes reality is complicated. And it's okay, I want to I want to grow up in a country that gives our kids the tools to grow up to be functional of citizens and they know how to choose and make their own decision. based on reality, not based on reality does not exist.

Hadar Susskind  58:14

I want to welcome Jim Klutznick, our board chair in for a last comment or question or some some closing remarks. Jim.

Jim Klutznick  58:24

Got on mute, and then you're on. Okay. Thank you Hadar, and Chen,  great listening to you, I've jotted some notes that I'd like to express. First of all, we salute and, and thank you for your bravery. And I think what you're showing here is these maps not matching with with reality is a metaphor for the dissonance between political, social, and economic, economic realities of Israel and the occupation today. And that's whether you believe in one state, two states or a Confederation. The reality is the occupation denies the Palestinians the justice of sovereignty, and confuses blindsides and blindsides young, Israeli children from the start. And I think ultimately, the result is that the there's an ability to bring the Israeli Palestinian conflict to a just solution for both people are as you put it, a border with not a country. And so thank you, I thank you for your clarity. And we look forward to seeing you in Israel next spring when APN makes its trip there. So thank you very much.

Chen Arieli


I'll be happy to meet you all. Good.

Hadar Susskind  59:59

We'll come see the maps! All right Jim thank you very much credit again thank you for joining us for today and taking the time and more importantly thank you for leading on this project and really for all the great work you're doing in Tel Aviv alright thanks to everybody we will see you all soon bye bye