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Mar 14, 2017

From Inspiration to Action

Education in Israel is largely segregated. Recognizing the enormous potential for students to gain a greater understanding of one another, Palestinian and Jewish educators have brought youth encounters into their schools. Inspired by the unique program developed at Neve Shalom/Wahat-al-Salam, Palestinian and Israeli students from four schools are meeting to explore ideas and opinions in an educational setting with equal representation.

Through Neven Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, a group of Jewish and Palestinian teachers have been motivated to create partnerships between schools and implement groundbreaking, nationally recognized programs that focus on bringing Palestinian and Jewish students together through literature.

The Ministry of Education has approved a pilot program that will bring 11th graders from Branco Weiss School and the Jadeidi-Makr School together for joint writing projects based on a collaborative study of Hebrew and Arabic literary works.The Ministry’s approval allows other schools to adopt the program and initiates a ‘feasibility study’ in the coming years.

The Presidential Award for education initiatives was presented to 10th grade teachers form Ibn Rushd and Rothberg High for their joint program that brings students together to attend joint learning sessions of Palestinian and Jewish literary works.

With your support, Neve Shalom/Wahat-al-Salam can continue to reach across cultures and create opportunities for foundational peace-building encounters between Jewish and Palestinian youth. 

Jan 18, 2017

Breaking the Ice

Another successful Youth Encounter workshop took place from November 29, 2016 to December 1, 2016 between students from Givat Brener and Nazareth High Schools. The three-day workshop brought sixty-one teenagers together at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam to talk to each other. It seems so simple, but bringing Jewish and Palestinian teenagers together is anything but simple.

                Opportunities for the two groups to come together, as equals, do not exist in their world. Education is segregated, even in the mixed cities. Through these workshops, teens have the chance to discover commonalities, learn about each other’s culture and dispel mistruths and misconceptions.

                It is truly inspiring to see their curiosity about each other lead to a serious commitment to bridging the gap between their worlds, especially during these times of bloodshed and conflict. Guided by experienced facilitators, the two groups of teens navigated their way from unknown antagonists to friendly allies.

Facilitators-in-training observed this encounter to analyze the dynamics of the workshop and see how the experienced facilitators engage and intervene with the teens to keep the dialogue flowing, open and constructive.  To minimize any intrusiveness and interruption, these observations are made through a one-way mirror.

Our facilitators play a key role in our success at bringing Jews and Palestinians together in a joint commitment to peace. The rigorous training program prepares them to face the many emotions, beliefs and heartbreaking or uplifting experiences that have shaped the view Palestinians and Jews of all ages have of each other.  

                Look for our next update when we report on the meeting between students from Ramat Gan and Shfaramer.

Jan 18, 2017

Report from Humanitarian Aid Committee

Wahat al Salam - Neve Shalom, was founded on the principals of equality and peace between Jews and Palestinians and for years has been developing innovative programs to advance these values in the region.

 

In keeping with our mission in the past years, members of WAS-NS have conducted various voluntary activities, among them: sending food and medical supplies to Gaza, providing needed medical treatment and transporting those in need of treatment to hospitals in Israel. Our programs have also helped develop NGO staff in Palestine and we have worked together in different programs and projects.

 

On Thursday, August 25 we were privileged to host a group of 35 children, their mothers and 3 fathers, from the village of Bil’in, Ramallah district, for a day of fun and relaxation.

 

Most of the mothers are single moms and work at "Threads of Change", AWC-Arab Women in the Center, a project which helps Palestinian women make a fair living through embroidery and needle point.

 

After obtaining for them a one day entry permit to Israel, members of of the community took a bus to the Bil’in Crossing to welcome our guests for the day and bring them to WAS-NS. The day’s events began with a visit to the Primary School, the School for Peace, the Pluralistic Spiritual Community Center and a meeting with the young people from the Nadi youth program. Besides WAS-NS, the day’s program included a visit to the Ramat Gan Zoo, and to Jaffa…. to enjoy the beach and swim in the Mediterranean before crossing back home to Bil’in.

 

After their tour of Wahat al Salam-Neve Shalom, the group sat together and talked with us about our original plan to have a summer camp program and the fact that Bil’in didn’t agree to send them for a long period out of fear that something bad might happen to them here. On hearing this, one of the Bil’in kids stood up and said, " What? You want to tell me that we were supposed to come to this amazing place for a longer period of time and you were worried? I can’t believe it. What is more frightening; the army and the demonstrations at the wall every week, or being here? Next year we are coming for longer!".

 

We’ll look forward to having them…

 
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