Newswise — An expedition of Jewish and Arab students set out to conquer the ‘Monta Roza’ in Switzerland, through a physically and mentally challenging journey of self discovery.
Breaking the Ice, a project of the University of Haifa's Jewish Arab Center (JAC), together with the Students Union and the Dean of Students at the University of Haifa and the Swiss organization Coexistence, organized a group of Arab and Jewish Israeli students, men and women, to summit Mont Blanc in the summer of 2010.
This unique project was created as an opportunity to bring Arab and Jewish Israelis together to work toward a goal outside the realm of usual coexistence activities. By training for and experiencing a difficult climb such as Mont Blanc, the students will gain valuable leadership skills. They will learn how to trust one another and cooperate under pressure. Under the leadership of Doron Erel, a Jewish-Israeli and the first Israeli to climb Mount McKinley and Mount Everest, and Olfat Haider, an Arab-Israeli student at the University of Haifa and certified Outward Bound instructor, the students will train in Israel throughout the spring semester and then travel to the Swiss Alps for a training camp, after which they will begin the ascent of the Mont Blanc. The JAC aims to initiate a number of important factors through the Mont Blanc project. First and foremost, the JAC aims to empower students with new leadership skills and confidence. The students will have the opportunity to create and experience true coexistence in a setting far removed from political conflict. The project also intends on seeking media attention, to inspire the Jewish and Arab factions of the Israeli population with the notion that coexistence is indeed possible. The Mont Blanc project will provide the inaugural foundation for an annual coexistence climb in the Alps, and other climbing related coexistence activities throughout the year in Israel.
Watch the video that sums up their mind opening journey.