By Sharon Udasin - March 23, 2015

Originally appeared here in The Jerusalem Post

As Yaniv Ovadia shouted, “Who wants to pet the cats?,” several dozen elementary school girls sped down a sandy hill at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in south Tel Aviv on Sunday evening.

So many of the girls, Palestinian and Israeli students from Jericho and Beit Shemesh, eagerly clamored around the fenced-in area housing the shelter’s felines, that Ovadia redirected some of them back to the dogs they had been playing with.

The approximately 40 girls were participating in an event called “New Spring – New Hope,” held at the SPCA in conjunction with the Peres Center for Peace.

“We let them pet and walk the dogs in our yard,” Ovadia, the director of the SPCA’s humanistic education department, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “That’s when the real connection takes place.” Read More