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October 17, 2006

OJPCR 7.1: Youth Negotiating Conflict and Life: A Photo Essay

by Anders Høg Hansen


Midways between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel-Palestine, around the hilly Latrun area, one can find the only Jewish-Arab village within the state of Israel. The place is called Neve Shalom/Wahat al-salam or in English, ‘Oasis of Peace’. The name may confuse visitors. It is a biblical quote used to signal an intention to try peacefully, as one of the residents explained. People who live here know it is not an ‘oasis’. The village has the West Bank border running literally through its alleys, yet it is under Israeli jurisdiction. Spiritually it may be different. It was set up in the early 1970s by Bruno Hussar, a Dominican monk of Jewish extraction born in Egypt who aimed to establish a place where Jews and Arabs could live together. Today, around 50 families, about half Jewish and half Palestinian Arabs with Israeli citizenship live there. You need Israeli citizenship, but as many Arabs in Israel do, you can also call yourself ‘Palestinian’. Hussar, the founder, a Mr. Hybrid par excellence, is buried in the village. This little fragile society is the only one of its kind in the Middle East, which also has a Jewish-Arab board, a bilingual school and an educational centre offering a range of conflict coping projects.

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Posted by Editor at October 17, 2006 03:23 PM