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.
Apr 22, 2014

Voices of Peace: How Massa-Massar Has Changed Lives

Touring the holiest sites of Jersusalem
Touring the holiest sites of Jersusalem

Since 2009, Massa-Massar: A Journey of Discovery has affected the lives — and enlarged the perspectives — of many Israeli and Palestinian teens.

With its focus on leadership, the Massa-Massar program equips its young participants with tools, and provides them with experiences, that enable them to move beyond conflict and toward mutual understanding.

Over the past five years, there have been many workshops, field trips, facilitated dialogues, and role-playing activities. The results are best described by the participants themselves:

Wahiba, a 16-year-old from Ramla, plans to study to become a diplomat when she finishes school. “When I think about everything that has happened,” she said, “I just want to cry. But there’s no point. We need to put it behind us and move forward.”

Perri, a 16-year-old from Jerusalem, felt that the weekend gave him a genuine experience of hanging out with “the other side,” having fun and being young together. He, like many of the other participants, expressed how he never receives the opportunity to meet with young people who are from “the other side.”

Yam, age 16 from Beit Hashmonai: “I’ve always celebrated Israel Independence Day without considering how Arabs feel.” An exercise in which all the participants shared their personal stories “really opened my eyes to another perspective.”

During one of the Massa-Massar tours around Jerusalem, Nicole, a 14 year old Arab teenager from Lod, described her excitement at visiting the Western Wall for the first time. She felt how special it was for the Jewish people. Nicole admitted she didn’t want to come to the workshop when she first heard about it. “I’ve had bad experiences” with people who “made me feel bad because I was Arab. I decided to come [to Massa-Massar] and it has given me a new perspective that not all Jewish people are like that. I feel much better about being Arab.”

Supporters from around the globe have made these outcomes possible. Massa-Massar will continue to change lives, to move us all closer to peace — but only with the support of friends like you.

Feb 25, 2014

How the 6th Graders Understand Their World

Primary School 6th-Graders
Primary School 6th-Graders

Teachers like Reem Nashef help make the Primary School at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam a one-of-a-kind institution. A 14-year resident of the Village, Reem’s own children graduated from the Primary School. And while she works full-time at the school — she’s responsible for the 6th-grade class, and she’s also the school’s science and environment teacher — Reem is working toward her own master’s degree in education. She speaks Hebrew, Arabic, German, French, and English.

Reem is especially proud of her current crop of sixth graders, whom she also taught last year. She reports that, this year, they are more focused, more aware of what they want, and their ideas and opinions about life have crystallized.

One of the ways this happens at the NSWAS Primary School is through projects like the “history line,” in which students examine, first, what was happening personally in their lives at various periods. Then they look at what was happening in their community, region, and the world at those same times. The project demands a high level of discipline as these young people independently research and investigate these parallel histories.

There are 12 Jewish and 9 Arab children in the class. Reem Nashef describes them as strong minded and individualistic. It’s because of accomplished and ambitious role models like Reem that this year’s 6th graders will continue to thrive as they become young adults.

Feb 25, 2014

Anthem for Peace: The Most Productive Workshop Yet

The Dabke Dance
The Dabke Dance

The latest Youth Encounter Workshop, which took place over three days last December, was a dynamic, lively, and inspiring meeting of 62 Arab and Jewish high-school students. It was the most successful youth workshop yet in this keystone program of the School for Peace at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam. 

30 Arab and 32 Jewish participants engaged in open dialogue, games, and simulations designed to make each group more aware of how the other group lives, how they see themselves, and how they are seen by each other.

The first day was devoted to getting to know one another in the three small groups. The students discovered that they have much in common. The atmosphere was one of positive curiosity. For many of the youth, it was the first encounter with the “other.” 

It was on the third day that the political dialogue began in earnest. Much of the session consisted of individuals from each group sharing personal stories. These candid dialogues can sometimes be uncomfortable, but in the end, each group felt stronger and wiser for having spoken their minds and hearts. 

And, when it was all over, the Palestinian youth taught the Jewish youth the Dabke, a traditional Arab folk dance (pictured above). 

As one of the Arab participants told us later, “The encounter was important to both sides. [The Jewish group] listened to us and we listened to them. We had arguments, but it is natural. The encounter was a wonderful idea we learned a lot. We want peace, independence, and equality.”

It’s through such dialogue — an essential component of the Youth Encounter Workshops — that participants generate forward-thinking ideas that are designed to stimulate more dialogue. This group put forth the idea that at official ceremonies and events, three national anthems be played: one Jewish, one Palestinian, and a common anthem about equality. 

As one Jewish participant said later, “I had an amazing experience that I will not forget. The dialogue caused me to understand that the situation is not simple at all, but I understood much better your situation. I hope a day will come when coexistence will be possible and we will reach a compromise and peace.”

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $25
    give
  • $75
    give
  • $250
    give
  • $2,000
    give
  • $25
    each month
    give
  • $75
    each month
    give
  • $250
    each month
    give
  • $2,000
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam on GreatNonProfits.org.