The Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian and Israeli Studies, located in Haifa, seeks to sustain and improve the Israeli-Palestinian academic and cultural dialogue at a time when contacts between the two sides have almost ceased.
Since its establishment in 1986, the institute has focused its activities around the status and conditions of the Palestinian minority inside Israel. During the past 3 years, the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has deteriorated drastically and has had a negative impact on the lives of Palestinians inside Israel. Under these urgent circumstances, a new management stepped in to revive the Institute and expand its activities in order to restart this much needed dialogue.<>The Institute is now a registered NGO, with a directorship of 9 committed members and an advisory council of 50 academics - Arabs and Jews - who are convened twice a year to help the Institute detect and focus on the major cultural discourses on both sides of the divide.
The new management aspires to become the central stage in Israel for introducing to the local public the recent and major trends in Palestinian thought, culture and politics. Its past contacts and its present management’s personal networking in Palestine and the Arab world, provide the basis for a successful implementation of such a timely and vital program.
The Emil Touma Institute intends to publish in Hebrew quarterly of about 200 pages an issues that will include articles, reports, poems and novels from the Palestinian communities wherever they are and from the Arab world. The material would be collected through agreements already reached with principal Palestinian journals and publishing houses, as well as the National Palestinian Association of Writers. The publication of each issue would be accompanied by a symposium to be held either in the Institute or in universities throughout Israel.
In addition, the Institute will hold annual symposia and workshops which will introduce Palestinian academics, writers, novelist and poets to the local public, the proceedings of which would be published by the Institute in a series of monographs.
Apart from the publishing effort, which includes also a monthly publication in Arabic introducing the updated popular cultural works in Israel, Palestine and the Arab world at large, the Institute will host the ‘Arab Haifa Heritage’ project, researching and introducing the forgotten chronicles of the Palestinian community in Haifa throughout the centuries. Through its constant contact with the Palestinian cultural community both inside and outside Israel, the institute hopes to be the meeting point of these communities and the Jewish public in Israel. Its existing network connections with academic and cultural centres in the West Bank, Amman, and the European countries.