Issue 8, Fall 2020

Sustainable Israeli-Palestinian Projects

In This Issue ...


Join Us For An Online Gathering!

Sunday, December 6, 11am MST

Celebrate SIPP!  Your Gifts at Work

Meet our new Mini-Grant recipients
and learn about their projects!

Everyone is welcome - Suggested donation: $100 per household
With your help we can continue making grants with real impact.

Even though we can't meet in person and share Liz's homemade lemon bars, we want to see you!

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Message from the Board

In addition to challenges associated with the pandemic, the political situation has become even more complex. Still, we have exciting news to share in this newsletter, including:

- Seven new SIPP Mini-Grant awardees

- Bipartisan legislation in the US Congress to dramatically increase funding for Israeli and Palestinian peace-building efforts

- Updates on our work with GLSHD’s Environmental Education Center, and on the use of biogas digesters in Ramat HaNegev 

All of our successes happen because of your support and we thank you. We need your ongoing financial support so that we can continue to award grants to support important life-changing programs.

SIPP Awards $15,000 for Seven Projects 

This fall, SIPP launched a mini-grant program for grants of up to $3000. After reviewing a number of exciting proposals, we have chosen to fund the follow projects:
Learning Arabic as Language of Peace 
AMAL (the Hebrew acronym for "Spoken Arabic for All") is a non-profit Israeli organization that works to make Arabic and Arab culture more accessible to Jewish children to promote tolerance and mutual respect between Jews and Arabs in Israel. This project provides scholarships to Arab Israeli university students to teach Arabic and Arab culture to Jewish Israeli 5th-graders in and around Tel Aviv. Our support will allow AMAL to hire two more Arabic teachers.

Women Talk
Ramat HaNegev Regional Council
This project facilitates cross-cultural ties between the Negev’s Jewish community and local Bedouin women in unrecognized villages. Through this partnership, Bedouin women learn skills to navigate Israeli society and develop skills for employment. Our grant will fund Hebrew and English language classes and a bridal makeup course, which the Bedouin women requested to give them an additional marketable skill.  
The Online Majlis: A Regional Dialogue
Israel Palestine Center for Regional Initiatives & Middle East Initiatives
This project brings together young environmental entrepreneurs from Israel, Palestine, The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States to discuss regional environmental challenges. The project will conclude with an online seminar and a list of suggested policy recommendations.  
Environmental Education Center
Green Land Society for Health Development  
The GLSHD educates children throughout the West Bank on the importance of being environmental stewards. Its other activities include teaching adults how to safely dispose of electronic waste, conducting health and safety training for the community, and many other activities. SIPP has helped fund and support this extraordinary center since its inception in 2016 and are we pleased to assist them again with their crucial work.
Wheels of Change
Ramat HaNegev Regional Council
Wheels of Change provides outdoor environmental education and individual empowerment to Bedouin youth, especially girls, through off-road biking. Our support will allow the group to purchase four additional bicycles and expand their program.  
Catching Rainwater: Basma/Barta'a Local Council Schools
Amuta for Education and Health in Israel
This project will establish a rainwater catching project as an educational tool for teaching about the water cycle and its importance, and provide additional water to an Arab elementary school in Barta'a.  Barta’a straddles both sides of the Green Line in Northern Israel/West Bank and is in the Hadera water basin.
Unity Is Strength
This NY-based organization promotes online civil dialog between Israelis and Palestinians. SIPP’s grant will assist the organization  in increasing its online presence.   

Refurbishing Computers in Idhna

Over the past year, SIPP has worked with the Boulder Rotary Club, the Jerusalem Rotary Club, and GLSHD to launch a computer refurbishing center at GLSHD's Environmental Education Center in Idhna (near Hebron).  While the effort has been slow to start due to the pandemic, computers are being refurbished and being donated to local schools, an important community need. 

Middle East Partnership for Peace Act

SIPP is a member of The Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP). For more than a decade, ALLMEP has focused on concrete steps to bring Israelis and Palestinians together to build a new reality, emphasizing peacebuilding and economic development. Last February, SIPP joined ALLMEP in lobbying on Capitol Hill for a bi-partisan backed bill in Washington, DC. In July, we had a partial victory toward achieving this goal when the House passed the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate, but has not yet been addressed. It would provide $250 million over 5 years to do two things: expand human-to-human peacebuilding efforts between Palestinians and Israelis ($110 million) and invest in Palestinian business development ($140 million). 

ALLMEP director Kevin Rachlin calls it “one of the first truly bipartisan positive pieces of legislation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to come out in quite some time.”  We hope that this legislation will be successfully revived in the upcoming Congress.


Biodigesters turn  organic waste into cooking gas and fertilizer. SIPP has worked with two  organizations, one in Israel and one in the West Bank, to create biodigester pilot programs. The Israeli program, in partnership with the Ramat HaNegev Regional Council, will allow   Bedouin communities in that area to turn organic waste into off-grid energy.  While this project has just started, it has already attracted interest by businesses and individuals within both the Bedouin and Jewish communities to expand the program into individual homes and agriculture.  The Palestinian program will also be used as an educational tool at GLSHD’s Environmental Education Center when the pandemic subsides.

SIPP’s Earth Day Community Update

SIPP celebrated Earth Day with a Community Update via Zoom on April 22, 2020. We were excited to be joined by  a dozen Israeli, Palestinian, and U.S. partners, as well as our Jerusalem liaison and our longtime supporters.  Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to meet each other, many for the first time. 

Each of our partners had an opportunity to introduce themselves at the beginning of the program.  We then learned more from SIPP Board Members Bernard Amadei, Beth Ornstein and Peter Ornstein, and representatives from AJEEC-NISPED and GLSHD about the “Green Ambassadors” U.S. Embassy grant workshop in January 2020. This workshop in Be’er Sheva brought together Israeli Jewish, Israeli Bedouin, and Palestinian participants to learn about possibilities relating to ecotourism in the Besor/Hebron basin. 

We ended with a presentation from SIPP Board Member Roberta Spivak about her participation in the ALLMEP (Alliance for Middle East Peace) lobbying day in Washington D.C. (See article below for an update on proposed legislation).

Thanks to all who attended. We look forward to catching up with everyone at the Celebrate SIPP! Your Gifts at Work event on December 6th!

Meet our Board Member: Sid Fox

What did you do professionally before retiring?
I am a physicist by education, and I’ve dabbled in various technologies, telecommunication outsourcing, marketing, and strategy when I worked for IBM for 33 years. I retired in 2004. 

You are a founding member of SIPP. What inspired you to help create this organization?
I believe peace will come only from an understanding of our common history and humanity, underpinned by facing our shared concerns such as the environment. We need to meet people-to-people, face-to-face.

Before joining SIPP, I accompanied my wife, Liz, on several trips to Israel and I saw first-hand how cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians is possible. Many of these trips involved activities at Hadassah Hospital, a world class medical institution, where the staff is composed of both Palestinian and Jewish doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who work together every day to treat their patients no matter their religion, ethnicity, or political affiliations.

For me, helping to create SIPP was an opportunity to strengthen this sort of cooperation in a place I care about deeply. And one of the great things about SIPP is the opportunity I get to know people across cultural boundaries, in a way that even many ordinary Israelis and Palestinians do not yet experience. 

What do you do when you’re not working for SIPP?
I’ve always had a strong affinity for biblical history and archeology. I also am very interested in Jewish traditions and the ethical ideas that are part of the humanist tradition that unites all religions and peoples. I’ve been spending time researching and writing on these topics along with Shakespeare, the classics, and human evolution. During this time of COVID, I enjoy walking, eating out in our backyard, Sunday drives, Zooming, Netflix, and visiting grandkids online.


Peace is a verb. Peace requires all of us to act. SIPP accomplishes our work through the volunteer efforts of our board members and others, and by raising funds to support important projects.  We work hard to minimize our expenses and ensure accountability of grantees and donees.

But we need more funds to be more effective. Act through us by making a donation today. If you are unable to make a monetary donation, please consider donating airline miles that can be used to bring some of our partners to the United States or send American experts to the region.
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