The School for Peace (SFP) is currently running a one-year long course for Arab and Jewish high school students who want to become leaders in advancing human rights in their milieus. Nine Jews and thirteen Palestinians from different high schools (age 15-17) are participating in this program, which includes one encounter every month for 8 months. The first encounter took place on April 25-26. The participants learned how to identify violations of human rights in their own environment, for example in connection to disability, women, children. They also got encouraged to report about the observed violations to the major in their cities or towns.
During this first workshop the debate around human rights started, both in uni-national and in binational groups. A game was proposed in order to guarantee a free exchange of opinions: each participant had the possibility to write anonymous questions on a piece of paper. One of the participants, a very shy Jewish student, decided to take courage and raise a very delicate question directly: he asked to his peers what they will choose to do when they will be called up for military service. The following discussion gave voice to the ticklish dilemma between social and personal expectations and the awareness of the violation of human rights connected to the choice of serving as combat soldiers in the occupied territories. A girl expressed the hope that the experience in the SFP program will help her to decide how to act in the future.
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