Israeli schools are hiring a growing number of Arab teachers to instruct Jewish students in Arabic.
School administrators say that this is part of a larger effort to have Arab and Jewish citizens interact more often on a daily basis.
"It is very important to get past the stigmas. We have a chance to get closer," Shlomit Vizel, a school principal, told the Associated Press.
While Arabic is a subject all students must take from 7th to 10th grade, very few Jews actually speak it in daily life. Maram Faour, who is now in her second year teaching Arabic to Jewish students, is trying to change that.
"I feel like a regular teacher. I'm not a foreign teacher,” she told the news agency. "I want them to learn as much as possible about Arabs in a positive light.”
Faour is part of the “O Peace” program, which is used in 200 of the Jewish state’s 1,700 primary schools. The program starts teaching Arabic in 5th grade, which is two years earlier than normal, and it focuses on spoken Arabic instead of the literary Arabic that is usually taught.
The “O Peace” program was started in 2005 and has continued to grow ever since.