American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam

American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam

The American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salam (the Oasis of Peace) supports and publicizes the projects of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, the “Oasis of Peace,” dedicated to dialogue, cooperation, and genuine and durable peace between Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians.

Neve Shalom - Wahat al-Salam is the only community in Israel where Jews and Pales­tinian Arab citizens of Israel live together purposefully, in equality and peace. For visitors and program participants, it provides a venue where both peoples feel at home and draw encouragement from the community’s model of part­nership and equality.

At Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, the bilingual, multicultural Primary School, School for Peace, Pluralistic Spiritual Center and Oasis Art Gallery serve the village and beyond, annually reaching thousands of Jewish and Palestinian youth and adults.

The Primary School

The Primary School’s mission has been, since its inception, to serve as a resource and an incubator of educational innovation. Founded in 1983, the Primary School is the first bilingual multicultural Jewish-Arab  K-6 school in the region. Providing all academics bilingually to more than 300 children in both Hebrew and Arabic while engaging the narratives of current issues and individual/national identities, the school draws 90% of its equal numbers of Israeli Palestinian and Jewish students from 12+ communities surrounding the village.

Well-utilized school resources include an Arabic/Hebrew/English Language Laboratory, greenhouse and garden, instrumental (for all) music program, cross-border Honey Bee pollination path program and, most recently, HOTAM-their newly completed bilingual, multicultural curriculum incorporating nearly 40 years of research and results. The Primary School has served as inspiration, model and resource for Israel’s newer bilingual schools. 

The School for Peace

The School for Peace at Neve Shalom/ Wahat al-Salam, established in 1979 was the first educational institution in Israel promoting broad-scale change towards peace and more humane, egalitarian and just re­lations between Palestinians and Jews. The School has developed change agent programs with Jewish and Israeli-Arab  profes­sional groups (lawyers, physicians, mental health professionals, journalists, architects, urban planners, environmentalists, young politicians and educators) and runs special programs for women, university students and youth, which cre­ate a genuine egalitarian dialogue between the two people. Through workshops, training programs and special projects, using Jewish and Arab facilitators, the School develops participants’ awareness of the conflict and their role in it, en­abling them to take responsibility to bring about positive change in society and in the relations be­tween Jews and Palestinians. 

In recent years, programs supported by the United States Agency for International Development have focused on creating a cadre of leaders in civil society and developing negotiation frameworks for future peace agreements. The School for Peace remains one of the few peace organizations in Israel running joint programs with Palestinian partner orga­nizations.

Since 1979, more than 75,000 Jews and Palestinians have taken part in workshops and courses conducted by the School for Peace, and it has trained over 1,000 facilitators. Many have become leaders in organizations that focus on Jewish-Arab issues, on peace and human rights, and social change in Israel and Palestine.

*All photos are used with permission of American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam. 

American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam