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.
Jan 22, 2014

Why 2013 Was a Landmark Year for Massa-Massar

Massa-Massar in 2013
Massa-Massar in 2013

We changed the world in 2013.

The Massa-Massar youth leadership program enjoyed its most productive, most robust, most far-reaching year yet. And with the help of collaborators across the world, we made Massa-Massar a fixture in the program of peace-building activities centered in Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, the Oasis of Peace.

Massa-Massar is a visionary endeavor conceived and designed at the Pluralstic Spiritual Center at NSWAS. We were so pleased in 2013 to welcome our friends at the Sulha Peace Project as they joined in the efforts to expand Massa-Massar’s reach and activities.

Among these activities were a visit by 32 Israeli and Palestinian teens to the Eco-Me Center for an Ecological Middle East; a 10-day seminar in Luzerne, Switzerland, that included a “tribal fire” in which Swiss children also participated; and specially designed tours of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem.

The participants in Massa-Massar have given us inspiring feedback: "We have to come together to strengthen our connections," said one participant, "and understand that everyone is a person, everyone is worthy.”

“It’s really opened my eyes to another perspective,” another participant told us.

Massa-Massar’s efforts to facilitate dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian teens — and to encourage them to facilitate similar dialogue in the leadership roles they will take on in the future — will and must expand in 2014.

Gifts from our friends in the Global Giving community will allow us to increase the time span of our programs and workshops; add more of them to our calendar year; and bring in more facilitators and participants. Your gift directly contributes to a more peaceful Middle East.

Nov 27, 2013

The Primary School Passes Major Milestones

Primary School New Year
Primary School New Year

As of the 2013-14 school year, the Primary School at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam has full recognition from the Israeli Ministry of Education as an independent, public school.

 This is a status the school staff and supporters have long pursued, and it entitles the Primary School to funding from the Ministry.

 But despite this good news, there is still a tremendous and urgent need for support, in part because of the school’s unique structure: the Primary School is committed to a bilingual, bi-national curriculum — one of the school’s founding principles — but this requires two teachers in every classroom, one Arabic speaker and one Hebrew speaker. This makes the school unique in its region but, again, requires a level of funding beyond that offered by the Ministry of Education.

In the meantime, working with the Ministry of Education, the school began last year the process of becoming fully modernized. The school received 20 computer work stations for children, six workstations for teachers, and each teacher received a computer. Equipment was installed in each of the classrooms and teachers began an ongoing training program in the integration of technology into the classroom.

Nov 27, 2013

The Ongoing Impact of the Youth Encounter Program

SFP-Youth Encounter Youth Program
SFP-Youth Encounter Youth Program

The Ongoing Impact of the Youth Encounter Program 

 The School for Peace at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam continues to build on, and be inspired by, the work done in last February’s Youth Encounter workshops among high-school students from Arab and Jewish schools.

 Although the workshops had to be delayed due to a flare up of violence in Gaza, the students came into the experience that much more energized and curious. There were frank discussions about Jewish and Palestinian national identities, and no opinions were withheld when it came to, for instance, Israel’s compulsory military service.

 But it was because of discussions like these that the young participants were able to find plenty of common ground as they engaged in simulated peace negotiations. The atmosphere was euphoric as the students came up with creative and practical ways by which their two peoples could live and thrive together.

 “I wish we could meet each other more,” said one of the Jewish students. “I want to educate the children I work with in the youth movement to be pro-peace.”

 And an Arab student was similarly inspired: “I could understand you and I felt that you understood me. I hope you will be able to help us get out of the difficult situation we are in and that we will live in peace and equality.”

SFP Youth
SFP Youth

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