American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam

The American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salam encourages, supports and publicizes the projects of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, the "Oasis of Peace." For more than thirty years, Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam has been dedicated to dialogue, cooperation and a genuine and durable peace between Arabs and Jews, Palestinians and Israelis. Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel have chosen to live and work together as equals in this community to promote trust, understanding and mutual respect.
Jul 5, 2012

Peace Brushes

Graffitis on the school door
Graffitis on the school door

On June 7, in an apparent protest against the decision to evacuate an Israeli "outpost" settlement, Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam was attacked by thugs who crept into the village, slashed tires of many cars and spray-painted right-wing and anti-Arab slogans on cars and buildings, including the Primary School.

Graffitis read "Death to Arabs" or "Revenge;" a message on one of the 14 damaged cars said "Hi from Ulpana" (the outpost settlement that the government decided to evacuate).

Right after the attack happened, the community, along with parents of the school, organized the cleanup of the school building – so that the hateful graffitis would be erased before the children came back to school.

A few days later, the children and parents participated in a “Peace Brush” happening: together they created their own graffitis on the school's walls, helped by caricaturists Ahmad and Mohammed Abu Num. Their graffitis focused on expression of feelings on the subject of peace and coexistence. On the school entrance, we can now read “We will live together” (picture). The activity was followed by a soccer game between the school team and a team of Arab and Jewish children from Jerusalem, under the auspices of the New Israel Fund.

The new school entrance
The new school entrance

Links:

May 25, 2012

Recent activities for the youth at the School for Peace

Recently, there have been two youth encounter workshops. In addition, we conducted a uninational workshop for Jewish students. The School for Peace is gradually shifting its activities from the classic youth encounter model to longer and more serious activities. This is only partly due to a lack of available funding for this kind of activity: another factor is that in the current political atmosphere, in which young people express widespread pessimism, rightward swing, growing racism and lack of interest in the other side, it becomes harder to conduct a substantive short-term encounter according the classic format. The following two projects are examples of longer-term youth activities that we are now attempting to develop.

A Youth Environmental Leadership Project, funded by the United Nations Development Program, is continuing, with the most recent workshop taking place in May. The project engages six schools in Israel and the Palestinian authority.

A Human Rights Project for Youth, supported by a 15,000 Euro grant from the Dutch Friends of NSWAS to conduct a youth leadership project in human rights, will hopefully take place at the beginning of the 2012 – 2013 school year (we are currently making contact with schools). The plan is to work with a group of about 20 Jewish and Arab students who will lead the project in 2 – 4 high schools.

Links:

Apr 10, 2012

Preparing next year journey

The Pluralistic Spiritual Center and the Massa-Massar project recently faced the tragic loss of the Center's Director, Abdessalam Najjar. Abdessalam had been the first Arab to join the unique Jewish-Palestinian community of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam in the 1970s. He was instrumental in the creation of the various educational institutions of the "Oasis of Peace:" the Primary School, the School for Peace and finally the Pluralistic Spiritual Center. Lately, he was focusing on developing the Center's programs in mediation and interreligious dialogue in Israel.

The money raised in the past few months from generous donors like you on GlobalGiving will be used to prepare a project this year, in the hope that we will succeed to raise further necessary funds. The staff of the project will be Vivian Rabiah (coordinator), Evi Guggenheim (representative for the Global Network of Religions for Children), and Dorit Shippin (the previous GNRC coordinator). The team considers widening the circle of participants to include young people from other countries, in order to convert the program from a local to an international level. Cooperation is currently being discussed with a German youth organization.

Thank you for your support of the important work of the Pluralistic Spiritual Center and its Massa-Massar program. You are making a difference!

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