About the Exhibition

Exhibition site: www.breadandroses.org.il

Over 350 Jewish and Arab artists have donated 450 works of art for the "Bread and Roses" exhibition. All proceeds will assist in integrating Arab women into the labor market. Held at the initiative of WAC-MAAN, the Workers Advice Center, and the nonprofit, Sindyanna Fair Trade in Israel, the exhibition is taking place for the eleventh year. It has the support of a wide range of artists who will be contributing 75% of sales to the project "Women and Work". It will be patronized by art lovers who combine the enjoyment of acquiring original works with the knowledge that they are assisting in the empowerment of one of the most oppressed and neglected sectors of Israeli society – Arab women.

The project "Women and Work" has been broadened over the past year. It includes not only agricultural workers from the Triangle and the workers at Sindyanna's plant in Kafr Qana, but also "Tanzif", a new cooperative of cleaning women. Participating in this project are employed and unemployed Arab women from East Jerusalem and Sindyanna’s new Visitor Center.

  • The project "Women and Agriculture" has been working out of the WAC-MAAN office in Baqa al-Gharbiyyeh for 11 years. It aims to integrate unskilled Arab women in legal and direct (not hired through a contractor) work in agriculture. The project intends to expand its activities to industry and the manufacturing sector. Presently, it has helped about 250 women enter the workplace yearly, enabling them and their families to emerge from poverty. Women are also involved in weekly courses in individual empowerment along with social activities and diverse volunteering.
  • Last November the WAC-MAAN office in Baqa al-Gharbiyyeh launched "Tnzif", a new workers’ cooperative of cleaners. It was initiated by graduates of Hashomer Hatzair’s Givat Haviva movement in cooperation with WAC-MAAN's "Women and Work". The cooperative is in its beginning stage.
  • The WAC-MAAN office in East Jerusalem represents hundreds of Palestinian women who face discrimination and abusive treatment by the National Insurance Institute and the Employment Service Bureau. The office accompanies women from work referral to full integration in the workplace. The office also conducts empowerment programs and social activity workshops where Arab women learn about their rights both as workers and when facing welfare institutions.
  • The nonprofit Sindyanna of Galilee, which operates in the industrial area of Kafr Kana, employs Arab women at all levels of management. Its olive oil and other premium food products have received many awards. For years, Sindyanna has conducted basket weaving workshops attended by Arab and Jewish women as a first step to finding employment and individual empowerment. Sindyanna recently established a unique Visitor Center. Operated by women, the Center brings thousands of visitors from Israel and abroad together with local Arab and Jewish women.

Background:

The low employment rate of Arab women in Israel and its dire results – poverty in Israel's Arab communities and a low GNP – have taken center stage in the public conversation. Government programs for integrating Arab women in the job market have not succeeded in creating new jobs; nor has the sufficient infrastructure been developed to reach the declared goal of bringing 41% of Arab women into the workforce by 2020. This is due to: lack of encouragement from their communities; exploitation and employment below the minimum wage; lack of infrastructure, transport and training; and conservative approaches. Only 33% of Arab women in Israel have joined the work force. As a result, the poverty rate in Arab society is rapidly nearing 50%. In East Jerusalem, the situation is nearing a humanitarian crisis: only 11% of women work and the poverty rate stands at 80%. The income of a poor Palestinian family in East Jerusalem is half that of a poor Jewish family in West Jerusalem.

Who are we?

WAC-MAAN, the Workers Advice Center, is an independent Representative Workers Organization, uniting workers regardless of nationality, religion, gender or profession. It strives to unionize unorganized workers into a broad-based labor union. Unorganized workers comprise more than two-thirds of the workforce in Israel, as well as most Palestinians working in the West Bank's Area C (under Israeli control). WAC-MAAN brings together workers from various sectors ranging from factory workers and truck drivers to music and art teachers. WAC-MAAN seeks affirmative action for workers in Arab communities who face discrimination. It invests resources toward the inclusion of Arab women in the labor force.

WAC-MAAN site: www.wac-maan.org.il

 Sindyanna of Galilee is a nonprofit that actively promotes modern agriculture and Arab women's employment according to Fair Trade principles. It combines business activities with social development and the building of bridges between communities. Sindyanna’s commercial enterprises and the Visitor Center in Kafr Kana are operated by Jewish and Arab women working in full equality. The Visitor Center hosts families, groups and individuals in diverse activities. It conducts specialized courses in basket weaving, using palm fronds, for Arab and Jewish women throughout the year. Agricultural projects in Sindyanna's Jewish-Arab olive groves, both in Wadi Ara and the Jezreel Valley, provide an example of unique socioeconomic cooperation. The groves are meeting points for Jews and Arabs during Volunteer Day in the harvest season.

Sindyanna site:  www.sindyanna.com

Contributing artists

Many artists are donating their work to the exhibition. They include: Yair Garbuz, Lahav Halevy, Ido Bar-El, Deganit Brest, Zuhdi Qadri, Larry Abramson, Sharif Waked, Sigalit Landau, Anisa Ashkar, Tsibi Geva, Uri Gershuni, Zoya Cherkassky, Rania Akel and many more.

Staff of the exhibition, Bread and Roses 11: Sharon Lior, Shahed Zoabi, Erez Wagner, Etti Lilti and Dani Ben Simhon.

For more details: Dani Ben Simhon 0504330039 danib@sindyan.org.il