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Arbel, from Israel, says that his two years at GHIS taught him that he can apply himself–as a student and a leader. At his previous school, he was bored and unchallenged, barely doing any work. But at GHIS, it was as if he was awakened by the range of interesting and challenging classes available in the IB program. And outside of the classroom, he found his confidence and the leader we knew he had inside! At first, people barely knew that he was a musician, but he eventually started and managed a popular band.

Currently: Arbel is doing a year of national service, where he volunteers as a counselor with a local youth group. His volunteer work at a youth center for Jews and Arabs mainly focuses on coexistence. He also teaches Hebrew at a local Arab school and is learning Arabic as well.   

The GHIS takeaway: Being at GHIS, showed him how similar Israelis–Jews and Arabs–are to each other and how much they have in common, such as being family-oriented societies, focused on traditions and holidays. He says, “I had reverse culture shock when I went back to “normal” society.” But it left a strong impression on him that it is possible for Jews and Arabs to live together in peace.  

Looking toward the future: Arbel hopes to do another year of national service in peacebuilding, or with at-risk or special needs youth. After that, he hopes to go to college in the Netherlands since he wants to continue studying in an international environment. Now that he has found school interesting, he’s finding that there are so many things that intrigue him, including urban planning and design, music, literature, computer science especially AI–and he has no reason to narrow his focus yet! 

The GHIS decision: Deciding to attend GHIS after speaking to a cousin who was part of the first year, Arbel says “it was one of the best decisions I ever made.” He’s grateful that by leaving his comfort zone, he saw that he has more potential than he ever imagined. Now he’s excited to make his way in the world–driven by his many interests and his tested leadership potential.  

GHIS friends: The theme of powerful friendships made at GHIS continues with Arbel. He says that these friendships mean that he has great friends around the world who he can visit when he travels and who he’s happy to host when they’re in Israel. 

At home at GHIS: Arbel was pleasantly surprised that after his parents first dropped him off at school, he was immediately immersed into the experience, so much so that he didn’t miss being at home. 

Life in Israel: The two years his cohort spent at GHIS included COVID, the May 2021 outbreak of violence, and two elections. While there were some tense times, their teachers kept them engaged by guiding them in discussions about what was happening, enabling him to see Israel from other Israelis’ eyes, as well as from the perspective of the international students. He appreciated that they were treated maturely, giving them an opportunity to honestly engage with each other. 

Summing up 2 years at GHIS: He talks about how intense of an experience it was, since while they were in a challenging academic environment, Jews, Arabs, and international students were learning to live together in a peaceful environment. Arbel notes that, “since the main idea of school is not just the IB, but leadership, coexistence, and shared society – we were able to manage this, become good friends, and commit to a better future.” 

Creating leaders: Arbel appreciated the many opportunities there were at GHIS to take on leadership roles. Not only in student government, but students were able to create their own CAS (part of the IB curriculum). This music lover created a band, where he put to action the leadership skills that he was learning about. 

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Yaniv Sagee


yaniv sagee

For more than seven decades, Givat Haviva has provided educational programs aimed at developing a just, equal, and inclusive society. In 2018, we created GHIS as an educational incubator to develop leaders for the future of our world, the Middle East, and Israel—to help move from competition and struggle between nations to a shared, egalitarian society that operates in peace.

GHIS students study the complexity of global conflicts, the differences, and the similarities between them. They learn that individual identity can exist while accepting the identity of the other, and that conflict can be transcended through greater mutual understanding.

Our school draws on the insights of the IB program and the experience of our students from around the world, and supplements it with conflict resolution knowledge accumulated over more than 70 years in Givat Haviva. With this formula a responsible cohort of young people is being created that will one day lead our shared society.

As CEO of Givat Haviva from 2012-2021, Yaniv was one of Israel’s primary leaders of shared society. In this role he created programs that promote these values and educate as many citizens as possible to the benefits of working together.

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David Zehavi

Hebrew Literature

David joined GHIS because he was looking for the right educational establishment to develop personally and professionally. As soon as he heard about GHIS, he realized that it suits his values.

“As someone who has always been committed to coexistence in Israel, I see GHIS as a great vehicle to bring young people together in an accepting and non-prejudicial way.”

As well as being a teacher, David is also trained in special needs education at all school levels.

David holds a joint Honors B.Ed.  in Special Education ages 6 to 21, and BA in Literature at Oranim College