Yalla Journal began in Canada in 2003 by six Arab and Jewish Canadians who wanted to create a forum in which young people could express their feelings about the conflict and explore the feelings of others as well. Two editions of the journal were published in 2005 and 2007 respectively.
We are a collaborative project in that our board, contributors, funding, and guidance comes from individuals of various backgrounds with a vested interest in the conflict. We provide a space for youth between the ages of 18 and 35 to come together through creative expression, rather than solely traditional dialogue structures. Our project empowers youth to express themselves creatively and openly. Our project also encourages them to engage with the thoughts and opinions of others without fear of retribution.
Yalla is not affiliated with a specific University, cultural center, political party or organization. We are a small, independent youth initiative from different backgrounds (religious, ethnic, academic, and regional).
If you wish to contact us or make a submission, click here.
Asher Greenberg was born in Toronto, Canada. He recently graduated form the University of Toronto with a BA degree in political science and human biology. He has been immersed in Israeli-Palestinian politics his entire life – attending a Jewish day school until the age of eighteen and then actively participating in Israeli advocacy at the University of Toronto. Asher has come to believe in the inherent complexity of the political situation and for the need to engage in deconstructing myths on both sides.
Ahmed Mahmoud is an Egyptian mechanical engineering student at the University of Toronto. Though generally not inclined toward politics, he is an avid reader on topics relating to human rights in the Middle East, and a strong advocate of Palestinian statehood. He is also a regular contributer to the Varsity newspaper, especially on the topic of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Since arriving in Canada two years ago, Ahmed’s opinion on the conflict has shifted from hardened antipathy towards Israel to a more reconciliatory view, which has helped him learn a lot about the Jewish community and its own stance on the conflict. Through Yalla, Ahmed aspires to see a paradigm shift in both communities that could help foster the understanding necessary before any peace negotiations can take place
Justine Katz was born into a traditional Jewish family in Johannesburg, South Africa. Prior to joining Yalla, Justine had very little involvement with Israeli-Palestinian politics. She saw the uniqueness of Yalla’s ideology as a threefold opportunity; to educate herself on the conflict and become more familiar with the varying perspectives within and between the Jewish and Arab communities; to express herself freely without fear of persecution; and to promote the idea of coexistence and tolerance. Justine feels that she has achieved everything she wanted to and beyond. She continues to be a part of the board in the hopes that others will see Yalla in a similar light and be inspired to continue on the path to peace.
Naomi Kramer was born of Romanian parents and raised in Toronto. During University at McGill, Naomi took half a year to study Hebrew and intern with an Arab-Israeli Feminist Organization in Haifa, Israel. Upon completing her BA in International Development Studies, she took a full time position at the New Israel Fund of Canada and has dedicated her professional and personal life to educating the Canadian community about real challenges in Israel.
Tarab Abdel Hadi was born and raised in Nablus, the West Bank, Palestine. She moved to Mississauga at the age of 14, earned her high school diploma and is currently enrolled at York University, majoring in Political Science. Since childhood, Tarab has felt a deep connection with her city’s culture, art, people and politics. Yalla Journal has helped change Tarab’s views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and hopes that through dialogue, expression and art the journal will humanize the ideas of the youth living and related to the conflict.