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First Humane Education Classes for Students in Arab Schools






First Seminar

Second Seminar


First Classes

Talks by religious leaders about

Press Releases:

27 March 2013

21 October 2012

1 April 2012

Media Coverage:

Quaker Concern for Animals,
15 August 2013

Jerusalem Post,
10 May 2013

Reshet TV,
19 April 2013

Panet, 15 April 13

Panet, 6 April 2013

Panet, 21 Oct 2012

Karmel Portal, 22 October 2012

Kol Israel Radio interview, 26 May 2012

Kol Israel interview partial transcript, 26 May 2012

Ma'ariv, 30 March 2012





Following CHAI's "Expanding the Circle of Compassion" conference, the pilot educational project began in schools in several cities in the north, with over 640 students participating. These photos are a selection from the many classes that have been using our program.


All photos: Avi Hirschfield



Shfar'am—El Basalia Elementary School



Some of these photos show students drawing concentric "circles of compassion" and filling in the circles with the names of those (human and animal) they care most about, less about, and those they consider to be outside their circle of compassion. Then the students answer questions designed to promote critical thinking about how they treat others and how they would like to be treated by others.




Students in the program learn that both humans and animals have emotions and intelligence and that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and compassion. They discuss their responsibilities toward themselves and toward others. The program helps children understand that all living beings want to live in habitat that is natural to them, in the family or social group of their choosing, with the freedom to live as nature intended, and to experience their natural abilities, whether to walk, run, fly, or swim. One student said he used to think animals were stupid and dirty and he was afraid of them, but now he understands that they are like us and that in some ways, animals actually have greater intelligence than humans.


Teachers participating in the program reported that the children were excited and engaged in the classes. The principal of a participating school commented about being really happy about this program because it teaches the exact values the school aims to instill in children – respect for others who are different from us, responsibility, empathy, critical thinking, and empowerment.


One of the many benefits of humane education is that it helps teachers identify at-risk children – those who need help because they are being abused or neglected and who may now or in the future commit violence out of rage at their own lack of power. When one teacher asked whether we should be responsible for animals and have compassion for them, a student told her he didn’t feel compassion for animals, for humans, and not even for himself because no one cared about him. The teacher learned that neither parent was in his life, and acted immediately to get him help.




The photographer who took these photos noted that "Many students raised their hands to answer the teacher’s questions or ask questions. When students were drawing their circles of compassion, there was a big HUM of excitement. It was clear that they really enjoyed this activity and the class in general.





Shfar'am—Marashan Elementary School

Druze Religious Expert Speaks to Students

Druze religious expert Sheikh Ridan Alman from Kisra spoke to students of the Marashan elementary school about what the Druze religion says about how humans are to treat animals. Treating animals well improves the way humans treat one another, he told students. Both humans and non-humans deserve mercy and those lacking in compassion are heartless. He related a story from Druze folklore about a religious woman who, time after time, denied help to a hungry cat who begged for mercy and care. Eventually, the woman herself died in a harsh manner, as punishment. The Prophet instructed a person who stole puppies from their mother and another person who stole birds from their mother to return them.




Animals feel physical and emotional pain, Mr. Alman told students, especially when their young are taken from them. When camels are in pain, they cry real tears. The Druze religion requires that humans feed and look after animals in their care. If they can no longer do so, they must give or sell them to a person who can properly care for them. Animals must not be taken advantage of or forced to work beyond their limits. Animal fights and betting on animal fights are prohibited. Harming an animal is prohibited unless in self-defense. Mr. Alman spoke about the contribution of one particular species, bees, to the ecosystem. He explained the importance of bees in pollinating plants and flowers.










Shfar'am—Saleh Samur School









Jadeidi-Makr—El Nadakh School