Some 5,000 Jewish, Christian and Muslim preschoolers across Jerusalem – including secular, ultra-Orthodox, Arab East Jerusalem and special-education students – have been busy creating paintings for the Children Dreaming Jerusalem project.
The pictures will be placed on the ceilings of Jerusalem light-rail cars for all to enjoy. And because they believe the project is unprecedented in scale, the organizers plan to submit an application to the Guinness Book of World Records.
“Jerusalem is a city that makes all of Israel friends, and our city has an important role to play in the search for commonality and inclusion,” said Mayor Nir Barkat.
“The light rail is an axis connecting all the different parts and neighborhoods in our city and society. To work for unity and a common language among the various sectors, a seed of unity that was sown at an early age will accompany the children for many years to come.”
This year’s theme for Israel’s public education system is Jerusalem, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of the ancient capital city.
“Children Dreaming Jerusalem is another opportunity for us to support important community social activities that unite and empower the capital,” said Yaron Ravid, CEO of CityPass Jerusalem Light Rail. “Presenting the works of the children of Jerusalem on the light rail will do good for the children, their families and all our passengers.”
The project is a joint initiative of the Parents’ Association, the Ministry of Education and several agencies in the Jerusalem Municipality.
“Children who are educated in Jerusalem to tolerate and respect others are the future and the hope for a different, united and closer Jerusalem that knows how to embrace all its inhabitants and bring a message to the State of Israel and to the entire world,” said Barkat. “This is not naïve. It’s a sober vision that change can occur only if you start in preschool with concrete action.”