Both Sides of the Story

What is really going on in the Middle East?

The Arab-Israeli Conflict. What are the causes, solutions?

The three Abrahamic religions: differences, similarities


Given by two knowledgeable, articulate and lively speakers, one Muslim the other Christian or Jewish, the talks can be provided in accordance with the requests from individual schools and are accompanied by colourful PowerPoint presentations containing many maps and photos, films, and animation. Discussion and questions by the students are encouraged. Every session involves the students, with discussions, time for questions, etc.

All the talks, prepared in consultation with teachers and with experts from both sides, give a balanced yet factual look at the issues involved.

The talks can be aimed at any age from Primary to years 12 and 13, and for students with any degree of knowledge, from very knowledgeable to little or none; for PHSE students to those studying for GCSE and A-Level.

Length can be determined by each school or institution, although we suggest allowing as much time as possible for these complex subjects.

The topics:

General Issues

  1. Have views and claims changed over the years?
  2. How the media report on the conflicts. Fake news?
  3. Refugees and the role of the refugee agencies.
  4. The way forward. Alternative suggestions for resolution to the conflicts.
  5. Malaria. How its eradication led to habitation of previously uninhabitable land.

What is really going on in the Middle East?

  1. What is happening now? Why are Russian, Turkish and U.S soldiers in Syria?
  2. Events which led to the current situation.
  3. The Arab-Israeli conflict. An introduction to the Arab-Israeli conflict, outlining the historical, religious, and political claims of both sides. Why has it lasted over 100 years? What do the two sides want?

The Arab-Israeli Conflict

  • An introduction to the conflict, outlining the historical, religious, and political claims of both sides.
  • The identities and histories of the Palestinians and the Israelis.
  • How the media reports on the conflict. Fake News.
  • Its religious aspects.
  • Its relation to Ethics, peace talks, and examining the current situation in Gaza and the West Bank.
  • Outlines of recent peace processes and events.
  • Malaria, how its eradication can lead to habitation of previously barely inhabitable land.
  • Israeli-Palestinian co-operation in water, the environment, trade, IT, security, etc;
  • The Way Forward. Explores alternative suggestions for a resolution to the conflict;
  • The role of refugee agencies.
  • How views and claims have changed over the years.

Religion, philosophy and ethics

  1. Religious aspects of the conflicts.
  2. Islam, Christianity, Judaism. How their differences affect political goals and actions.
  3. Islam, Judaism. How their differences affect political goals and actions.
  4. Christianity, Judaism. How their differences and similarities have affected their relations.
  5. Philosophy and ethics. How differences in beliefs have influenced behaviour towards others in peace and war.
  6. Sunni Islam, Shia Islam. What are the differences and similarities? How do these affect their goals and actions?

Further talks can be supplied, enlarging on any of the aspects outlined above, or on a related subject.

Films (Shown with a speaker, with explanations, question-time, discussions).

  • "Shadya" (50 minutes) Produced by Budo for Peace - This shows two years in the life of an Arab with Israeli citizenship living in Israel . Shadya is Israeli's karate champion who goes on to become a world gold medallist. It follows her as she battles with conflicts of identity and tries to balance her modern views with those of her more traditional family. (Budo For Peace)
  • "Jerusalem and the Temple Mount" (10 minutes) Produced by Springboard Educational Trust - The history, current situation, and conflicting views on the future of Jerusalem.
  • "Forgotten Refugees" (20 minutes) Produced by Harif - After most conflicts there is an exchange of populations resulting in many refugees on both sides. This film traces the effects on Jewish refugees from Arab countries in the early 1950s.
  • "Refugees" (4 minutes) Produced by MEEDU – a brief overview of refugees: todays refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, Arab refugees from what is now Israel, and Jewish refugees from the Arab world.
  • "Forsaken Promise" (Abridged version 40 minutes) Produced by Hatikvah Film Trust, distributed by CFI Communications - Details the role of the British Mandate in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
  • "Whose Land?" (90 minutes) Produced by Title Deed Media, 2018. A group of historians and international lawyers examines the conflicting claims of the Palestinians and the Israelis through the eyes of verifiable history and international law.
  • "Hug Me" (3 minutes) YouTube. A Palestinian and an Israeli Jew stand in the street asking to be hugged, with surprising results.

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