This article examines the educational activism of two Arab civil organizations in Israel: the Follow-Up Committee on Arab Education (FUCAE) and the Eqraa Association (Eqraa). On the one hand, it explores the possibilities and limitations of the involvement of the FUCAE in the state's Arab education system, as a secular organization that is heavily engaged in the contentious identity politics of the Arab minority in Israel. On the other hand, it reflects on the competing yet complementary roles played by Eqraa vis-à-vis the state in the field of education, as a faith-based organization that has been operating its own independent successful initiatives in education. More specifically, this article compares the goals, strategies, activities, and sources of funding of these two organizations, thus providing insights on the role of civil society organizations, either secular or religious, on Palestinian identity formation and political mobilization in Israel. Additionally, it clarifies the meaning and characteristics of Islamic entrepreneurship and activism in education.
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As stated in the introduction, FUCAE does not operate only in the civil arena, but the national one as well. Therefore, though the Committee does aim its activity toward achieving meaningful equality in the civil arena, it also works toward the national-communal aspects of empowering Palestinian society and strengthening its inner mechanisms, albeit to a lesser extent. For instance, Project Access, funded by the American Embassy in Israel, is a FUCAE program intended to help Arab students master the English language. Another such FUCAE project is Education for Identity. Through educational materials, newsletters, and short papers, the project seeks to instill a deeper sense of national identity and familiarity with the Palestinian historical narrative.
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