Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wahat al-Salam - Oasis of Peace

Neve Shalom ~ Wahat al-Salam (in English, Oasis of Peace) made headlines last year when former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters performed there. This unique cooperative village was founded jointly by Jewish and Arab Israelis in an attempt to show that the two peoples can live side by side peacefully, as well as to conduct educational work for peace, equality and understanding between the two peoples. The community was founded on land that was originally leased from the adjacent Latrun Monastery, mid-way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and there are currently more than 50 families living in Neve Shalom ~ Wahat al-Salam, with an equal number of Arabs and Jews. Many more families from both groups are on the waiting list to join this very special place.

Neve Shalom ~ Wahat al-Salam's school system was the first bilingual, bi-national Jewish-Palestinian educational facility in the country, and the Jewish and Palestinian teachers each speak exclusively in their own languages to all the students, creating an atmosphere that allows the students to explore their own identities as well as gain appreciation for another culture.

As you can see in the above video clip, the people of Neve Shalom ~ Wahat al-Salam – those who live there, those who work and volunteer there, and those who choose to benefit from the wide variety of services and resources provided – are committed to dialog and co-existence.

So, here's your chance to check out a four-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize up close and personal. If you're going to be in the area (and it's a beautiful region, so I highly recommend it – don't forget to pick up a few bottles of wine made onsite at the Latrun Monastery), pop in and say "shalom" or "salam" and I'm sure they'll be happy to have you.


mike marcus said...

Its a beautiful place. I was thinking about going back there to shoot some photographs for a blog article.

lisoosh said...

You know, if they have a waiting list its a wonder someone hasn't started a second community based on the same principals.

mike marcus said...

im up for it!