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
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