In among the atrocities and genocide of the Zionist Israeli government, and the plight of the Palestinian people, there is an Oasis of Peace between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem where Israelis and Palestinians live together in harmony.
Neve Shalom (Hebrew) / Wahat al-Salam (Arabic) (meaning Oasis of Peace) has existed since 1972, when a priest, Father Bruno Hussar, established a small village on a piece of no man’s land on a hillside. His vision was to create a community based on equality, and the preservation of the cultural heritage of both Israeli’s and Palestinian’s.
As more families sought to join the community and live in peace, the village began to grow. They established their own pre-school and went on to create a Primary school where a bilingual and bicultural curriculum promotes understanding between Palestinian Arab and Jewish Israeli.
Father Bruno and other residents very quickly established the School for Peace, even before there was a building for it. The programmes still bring together Palestinian Arab and Jewish Israeli young people for joint activities to get to know one another, and through dialogue to explore issues that both groups experience as Israeli citizens.
The community established a Pluralistic Spiritual Centre (Doumia / Sakinah / House of Silence) where people could practice their own version of spirituality without the need for separate places of worship. It has become one of the most important interfaith centres in Israel. People of different faiths celebrate each other’s festivals and come together to share their spiritual teachings.
Part of the work of the School for Peace and Conflict Transformation operates an outreach programme, where 30 Jewish and 30 Palestinian Arab students attend the school’s Youth Encounter Programme. The programme focuses on research projects where Israelis and Palestinians work together to consider local and global human rights issues and the context of citizenship.
The village survives financially though donations, a small guest house, and the course run at the centres. The village also hosts various events, and on June 22nd 2006, Roger Waters played a live concert in the village.
Young Israelis and Palestinians who realise that living together in peace is possible are the future of Israel, and the proof that they can respect each other is right there in the village.
In a way, they are going back to how things used to be.
Before the Zionists invaded the territory with a brutal agenda, Arabs and Jews lived together in harmony. Neighbour looked after neighbour, regardless of whether they were Jew or Arab. They socialised together, babysat each other’s children, and worked together without conflict.
If Israeli and Palestinian people could realise the truth of why and how the situation in Israel has changed to be so poisonous, and how the people of the land respected and helped each other in the past, perhaps there is hope for peace in Israel.
More information on the village at the Oasis for Peace website.
“An Oasis of Peace in a Land of Conflict”
A 10-min presentation of the binational village of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam in Israel. The “Oasis of Peace” is the only community in the country where Palestinians and Jews choose to live, work and raise their children together in equality and mutual respect.
Copyright of pictures and video Oasis of Peace.