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.
Sep 19, 2016

The Village inspires international peace work

For the ninth consecutive year, NSWAS youth were a central part of a three-week intercultural youth leadership program.

Held at the Artsbridge Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, NSWAS youth brought their considerable youth-club skills (Nadi) leadership skills to their work as counselors, helping guide 30 Israeli, Palestinian and American youth through an intensive leadership program.

Focused on building partnerships and overcoming cultural differences through art and facilitated open dialogue, the program challenges preconceived notions of culture, religion and friendship.
In August, an international educational organization offering social action programs in Israel, concluded their Onward Israel Diversity & Pluralism summer internship program with time at NSWAS. With 35 years and counting of peaceful coexistence, pioneering educational, social, professional and spiritual programs, NSWAS is an invaluable resource and, more significantly, it is an inspiration for international and local peace-based work.


The Winsipration Day award, given in recognition for outstanding work and dedication toward peace, honored the community and projects of NSWAS at their annual ceremony in Austria. A Palestinian-Israeli journalist and A Jewish- Israeli educator, both longtime residents of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, were present to receive the award. The work of the NSWAS community is having an impact in Europe that may begin as an inspiration, but it will deepen over time to serve as a role model.

Jul 27, 2016

Youth Encounters in the summer?

Creativity has to be the guiding principle when the mission is to bring young Palestinian and Jewish Israelis together for a few hours, a few days or a few weeks! What’s going on at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam?

Iftar during Ramadan brings Palestinian and Jewish families together to share breaking the fast- the young people encounter each other during a scared time, sharing food and their daily lives,

 

while Jewish and Palestinian mothers do the same!

Longer-term youth encounters happen when Palestinian and Jewish youth from Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam join others from Israel, the West Bank and the US at the Artsbridge Institute for three weeks in the summer. These encounters are often the first time American youth realize that Jewish and Palestinian youth share common dreams for their lives. The encounters do more than build leadership and empathy through the arts; they build hope among the parents and extended families of all of these remarkable pioneers.

At the School for Peace, Jewish and Palestinian young professionals are encountering one another in the real world of the Hebron hills, through the SFP’s Change Agents course for Environmentalists. Working together to find answers to the challenges of water and energy in a conflict zone, the work of these young environmentalists gives encouragement to the many others who watch them and wonder if they, too, can dare to encounter the “other.”

And if Palestinian and Jewish Primary School children are too young to participate in a high school Youth Encounter, they are an example of a daily, year-long, living encounter. Recently, they shared their message through the arts with two elementary schools in Italy encouraging them to dream and work together for a future across the divisions of culture, language and religion.

Stay tuned- The School for Peace High School Youth Encounters will resume this Fall!

Jul 13, 2016

Experiencing democracy in action!

The Primary School students organized a peaceful protest and demonstration, asking for new computers in the library to replace the old ones that are too slow.

Inspired by his 4th graders, who were studying democracy, teacher Rani decided to create and experience for them to understand how to work for change in society. 

By playing a football game in which he had divided the pupils into two uneven teams, one stronger and one weaker, the pupils became engaged in a vigorous discussion on how we act when we win or lose and what we can do when we think something is wrong, such as an imbalance of power.

The process was very serious.  Should they write a letter to the principal or should they demonstrate?

They requested a permit from the principal and began to organize, talking with the other classes, drawing up a petition and making signs, slogans and songs, with everything--discussions, signs, songs--in both Hebrew and Arabic! Marching to the teachers’ room, they began their protest with speeches and slogans.

There was also a small group of “counter protesters.” The principal addressed the group, promising to provide the computers by the beginning of the next school year.

"Somehow- despite the dismal state of what people call ’the political situation’-the Primary School at Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom remains an oasis of honest and caring encounter, exciting learning, and all-round joy for our students, staff, parent, and friends. Everyone involved contributes to this miracle with a shared outlook and hope for the future."

 
   

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