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.
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
Oct 23, 2013

The Journey youth leadership program

Youth leadership
Youth leadership

The Pluralistic Community Spiritual Center began the year with a community “Iftar” Ramadan Break-fast holding two evening ‘pot-luck’ dinners. One was with music and a singer, and the second, Imad Jabareen who performed a one man show with the poems of Mahmoud Darwish. The event was attending by members of the village and others who came from throughout Israel.

 In October the PCSC hosted the first of three meetings between new and old residents of NSWAS  with an open discussion of the shared past, present and future together at NSWAS.  As the village begins building 34 new units coming together, learning from the past and looking towards the future becomes an important step in building community. .

 Massa –Masar (The Journey) youth leadership program of the PCSC will take on a new focus this year developing leadership among Jewish and Arab young adults, 18 years and over. It will include up to 20 young adults from Neve Shalom-Wahat al Salam and others from outside the NSWAS community. The youth will meetings will participate in seminars on subjects such as: techniques of group facilitation; how to tell a story and how to listen to someone else’s story; history of the Israeli-Arab conflict; interpersonal communication skills; etc., and with the help of PCSC staff will work  on projects with children and youth, promoting peace and human rights.   (complete article at http://wasns.org/spip.php?article1105)

 Women’s Dialogue through Religious Text will begin its second year at the PCSC with Jewish and Palestinian women from Ramla, Lod, Gezer, area meeting to explore different spiritual roots of the three religions and engaging in discussion and dialogue.   The project, which includes study of texts from the Koran, New Testament and Old Testament, was very successful last year and received a lot of positive feedback from the participants. 

The Pluralistic Spiritual Community Center is planning additional interfaith and intercultural dialogue projects that will run throughout the year and hosts weekly programs including dancing organized by Ety Adlend, Yoga to calm and balance the body and mind with Dorit Shippin,  

Sep 5, 2013

International Encounters

youth engaged in dual-dialogue.
youth engaged in dual-dialogue.

Following the most recent Youth Encounter Workshop at the School for Peace, Jewish and Palestinian high school students are now taking part in a 10-day mission to Italy to meet with Italian high school youth.

The encounter participants will be joined by Jewish and Arab young adults from Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, a Peace dialogue facilitator and an Arab teacher from Nazareth High School. Funded by Caritis, this additional session will give the encounter participants the ability to strengthen their relationships with each other and enable them to continue modeling what is possible during the coming year. The trip also focuses on developing a deeper understanding of Arab-Jewish relations along with their Italian counterparts.  

During the summer, the School for Peace also conducted an international encounter for young adults from the United States who had come to Israel to learn about Arab-Jewish relations and the roots of the conflict.

These three and four day youth encounters will continue during the upcoming school year, and often mark the first step in coming to know someone from “the other side”.  Through the encounters young people learn to honor their own identity while respecting the identity of others, and open a dialogue with and an understanding for the "other" which they carry with them well beyond the encounter.

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