A Message of Hope in the Context of the Current Conflict in Israel

We lived in normal times, just getting over the worldwide Corona crisis, after most of the citizens have become vaccinated. Meanwhile the war broke out. Rockets are sent daily towards Israel and Israel is constantly and heavily bombarding Gaza. Inside Israel there are violent demonstrations mainly in the mixed cities. The very fragile web of coexistence in our country is under serious threat.

This situation puts our peace village and its peace educational institutions under huge stress. Nevertheless, our coexistence in our peace village is stronger than the disruptive forces as we are convinced and practice our nonviolent dialogue and conflict resolution also in times of war and stress. Our graduates organize and participate in peace and solidarity rallies all over the country putting a significant sign against the exploding violence.

In this framework our conjoint project with GNRC of youth leadership building becomes even more important. Our institution the Neve Shalom Wahat al Salam (NSWAS) is a Peace village bringing together Palestinians and Jews within the state of Israel to find sustainable ways to coexist. Its main objective is peace education and cooperation between Jews and Palestinians belonging to different religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Nadi (Youth Club in Arabic) is one of the five different peace educational programs operated by NSWAS. It is led by two professional youth facilitators, one Palestinian and the other Jewish. The Nadi operate activities for the youth of the Peace Village thus enhancing a non-violent peaceful communication and mutual understanding among the youth between the age of 6-18.

This past year we operated under the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, we planned to reach out to other youth movements and institution but unfortunately this plan became impossible due to the restrictions and regulations for social distancing.

We had to adapt our activities to the new reality but nevertheless in the beginning of the year we succeeded in collaborating with an additional youth movement from Jerusalem thus widening our influence.

As a result, youth volunteers from Jerusalem participated in our youth leadership formation program that was enabled by the support of Arigatou.

I hope that this conflict will end and we will all find peace and co-exist together as one humanity.

Thank you.

Ms. Evi Guggenheim Shbeta,
GNRC Coordinator, Israel.