Current housing policies in Israel regarding zoning and land use planning have resulted in segregated communities split across religious and racial lines. About ninety-three percent of its land is controlled by the state, and by law and regulations only Jewish residents are allowed to lease the land for housing. As a result, entire communities are facing a housing crisis.
Mosaic Communities establishes integrated Arab-Jewish communities that are open to all residents of Israel, thus challenging housing policies that institutionalize legal segregation. The organization leases and purchases land, and facilitates planning, development, and construction of homes. It also sells or leases these homes and provide support services to communities once they are established. Ultimately, this private initiative to desegregate housing on a national level serves to generate public debate, thereby influencing change far beyond the provision of homes.
Fred Schlomka has had a career in the business world and non-profit organizations on both sides of the Atlantic. Fred was born in Scotland to Palestinian parents. He began returning to Israel in the late 1970s, and spent about five years there during the 1980s and 90s. His passion for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine led him to return there permanently with his family in 2000. From 2001-2003 he was Operations Manager at The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and in 2003 he established Mosaic Communities, where he served as Executive Director until 2005. Fred is currently a board member of the Traditional Karate Federation of Israel, owns an online alternative travel company, and is a partner in North Bridge Investments, a unique Israeli/Palestinian company that is developing cross border projects. He also consults with businesses and NGOs that are seeking to develop operations in the country.