NEVE SHALOM ~ WAHAT AL-SALAM
From a vision, a clarion call to all humankind
by Len Traubman
A powerful vision-turned-example is NEVE SHALOM ~ WAHAT AL-SALAM—Hebrew and Arabic for OASIS OF PEACE - Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Jaffa
They live their vision as a cooperative village, jointly established by Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel who reside together and are engaged in educational work for peace, equality and understanding between the two peoples.
Their own relationships are the proving grounds and bed-rock basis for their pioneering educational work of their School for Peace, Children’s Educational System and Pluralistic Spiritual Centre.
Besides its educational work, NS~WAS and its members also conduct other humanitarian aid programs. Some summer programs are offered for overseas guests who can reside in their 39-room hotel and gather to engage and learn in the village conference halls. The village is situated equidistant from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
THE VISION came from one citizen, Father Bruno Hussar. He foresaw a village where Jews, Muslims, and Christians would live together and learn to listen, understand, respect, and trust one another. orn in Egypt in 1911, he invested his lifetime committed to bringing understanding between people of different faiths. In 1972, Father Bruno convinced the Latrun Trappist Monastery, a producer of wine in the Holy Land for more than 300 years, to lease him a portion of its domain. It was on this hillside, overlooking the Ayalon Valley, where Bruno was inspired by the phrase from Isaiah: “My people shall dwell in an oasis of peace.” He had a VISION of a village where Jews and Arabs from the country would live together in harmony and peace and collaboration, . .“to prove by its existence that cooperation is possible.”
In 1979, the first families arrived—one Jewish, one Arab.
In April, 1987, 15,000 Palestinians and Jews gathered on the hillsides of NEVE SHALOM~WAHAT AL-SALAM to affirm their vision. See their PHOTO at http://traubman.igc.org/nswas-openday.htm
In 2007, their vision lives on. See their VIDEO at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIDe_uPe67I .
“Some people thought we were crazy,” said Nava Sonnenschein, a Jewish resident who moved with her husband to the village in 1980 while pregnant with the first of their three children. “I was hauling buckets of water for cooking, laundry, and showers,” she laughs. “We needed to have a very big vision to live here.”
We must choose a VISION.
Like a global village, a true community. Can we all—no exceptions—“live together and learn to listen, understand, respect, and trust one another?”
Can you see it?
Now. . .what’s the plan?