Teens dance tensions away in France

Despite the current political tensions in the Middle East, a delegation of 16 Jewish and Arab teenagers organized by the Arabic-Jewish Center in Jaffa left Israel for France this week, reports www.mynet.co.il. The group will take part in theatrical and social activities with their French counterparts, and will ultimately stage a show about personal and group identity. According to the report, the Arabic-Jewish Center in Jaffa, which uses artistic activities to bring Jews and Arabs together, hosted the French teenagers during their visit to Israel last April, and now has sent the Israeli teens to France. Five months ago, the center initiated a project called "Youth Creates," in which Jewish, Muslim and Christian teenagers learn about tolerance and acceptance of others through dance, music and theater, and the current visit is part of that framework. The report said the Israelis would put on a musical show at the end of the year which would tell the individual story of each member of the group and blend them into a story of the group as a whole. Tel Aviv city councilor Ahmed Masharawi, whose daughter is in the delegation, said the teenagers were providing a "ray of hope for relations between Jews and Arabs who are going through a sensitive period," and that such joint activities should be encouraged. "Precisely in these difficult times, it is important that projects like this be widened," he said.