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 20, 2016

Not just slogans!

Not just slogans!

Equality, respect and acceptance of the ‘other’ are guiding principles for the first binational, bilingual and multi-cultural school in Israel, run jointly and equally by Jews and Arabs.

In a region where everything, even the olive harvest, is politicized, Palestinian and Jewish Primary School classmates picked olives together, surrounded by teachers, parents and community members. These students worked together to harvest the fruits of the dozens of olive trees planted 40 years ago and more on their school land. Hebrew and Arabic songs and conversations floated across the warm air, everyone’s olives were mixed together for the pressing. At a time when hearing others speaking Hebrew or Arabic can foster a sense of fear or of belonging, connections across language, village and history were made by these children’s parents.

The children will lead: The 6th grade class has a dream for a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the Jewish and Palestinian peoples, so they prepared a program for parents, students and friends, held in the Eisenberg Auditorium, where they spoke about the meaning of democracy and narrated key events of Yitzak Rabin’s life and tragic death. Students took turns, in Hebrew and Arabic, to voice messages of hope and peace.

We the students of Wahat al- Salam-Neve Shalom School call on everyone to strive for human unity, advance tolerance and understanding, and put an end to wars and violence.”

            “Now is the time to strengthen our determination and remind the world that a different way, based on equal coexistence, mutual respect and sharing of responsibility is possible.”

Courage can be contagious

Classroom

Instead of being dismayed by Israeli-Arab conflict outside the village, the Primary School decided to grow by 12% this fall as it welcomed a second first-grade class, with equal numbers of Israeli Palestinian and Jewish children. Plans are now in place to admit two first-grade classes each year for the next five years, effectively doubling the student body. The place where today 200 Jewish and Palestinian Israeli children live, learn and play together in Arabic and Hebrew, will grow into a community of 400 children

Dec 29, 2015

Breaking Down Borders

Sometimes, the best information about a program is found in the voices of the participants themselves. We hope to have raised sufficient funds to hold our next multi-day  Masa/Masar soon, as the conflict continues to give evidence of the need for this program.  So, while we prepare for the coming one, we want you to get a sense of the ‘Journey” (Masa/Masar) program in the participant’s own words.

           https://youtu.be/rc8efuLQHNc

But, while we wait, the Spiritual Center and its Peace Museum have been busy Breaking Down Borders through public multicultural and multi-faith programs like the one on the Shoah, the Rebirth and the Nakba where borders are taken down as participants learn from one another and see through the eyes of the other.  On November 18 the Museum and Pluralistic Spiritual Center held the third in the Peace Museum’s project: "Remembering the Righteous," honoring those who acted in different places, all over the world, to save the lives of others.

The first two programs explored the holocaust and the Armenian genocide, remembering the righteous and sharing stories of heroism. The most recent program focused on the topic of Palestinians who saved Jews during the events of 1929.  Avraham (Avrum) Burg, former speaker of the Israeli Parliament and former head of the Jewish Agency, shared the story of his mother and her family, who were saved by a Palestinian family’s heroism during the Hebron massacre.

           

We look forward, soon, to being able to engage another several dozen Israeli Palestinian and Jewish young adults in breaking down their borders and helping to transform the conflict person by person, family by family.

Links:

Nov 6, 2015

Youth Encounters for Engineering students

Youth Encounters for Engineering students:

The School for Peace meets Jewish and Palestinians participants “where they are.” The Youth Encounter that is usually a residential (at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam) intensive program with older students from Arab and Jewish high schools, is now being offered over a longer time period to college-age youth.

Currently working with the students at Azrieli College of Engineering. In Jerusalem, the School for Peace brings together Azrieli’s Arab and Jewish student population which includes residents of East Jerusalem and those who are religious and politically conservative. Azrieli College recognized that it was going to be vital to open communications between the two student groups as tensions can often run high. This semester-long course/ encounter enables these students, who will be entering the work world, to understand their Jewish – Arab conflict, and build communication skills in a way that can contribute to reducing the conflict.

The students, who study together for three years, often never interacted with those from the other nationality. For many the program was the first time they openly discussed issues with the other side. Meeting both at Azrieli College and at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, they spoke about life in East Jerusalem, the Gaza war last summer, discrimination, terrorist activities and many issues that are at the heart of the conflict.

The success of the program has led Azrieli College to request that the School for Peace run the program again next year, doubling the number of meetings.

 
   

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