Neve Shalom

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Neve Shalom (Hebrew: נְוֵה שָׁלוֹם‎‎, lit. Oasis of Peace), also known as Wāħat as-Salām (Arabic: واحة السلام‎) is a cooperative village jointly founded by Israeli Arabs and Jews 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 village is located on one of the two Latrun hilltops, midway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Falling under the jurisdiction of Mateh Yehuda Regional Council, in 2006 it had a population of 200.

Contents

History

Its name is taken from a passage in the Book of Isaiah 32:18: "My people shall dwell in an oasis of peace." The village was conceived by Bruno Hussar, an Egyptian-born Dominican brother (of Jewish origin) who, in 1970 leased forty hectares of land for the project from the Trappist abbey at Latrun. Hussar: "We had in mind a small village composed of inhabitants from different communities in the country. Jews, Christians and Muslims would live there in peace, each one faithful to his own faith and traditions, while respecting those of others. Each would find in this diversity a source of personal enrichment."[1] The community grew to a few families by the end of the 1970s. Among the early members (from November 1980)[2] was Major Wellesley Aron, grandfather of the Israeli singer David Broza.[3] Says David Broza: "The group of people that my grandfather joined saw the place as an opportunity to expand on the idea of finding peace within yourself as a prelude to bringing peace to the community and the region".[3]

In June 2010, the journal Arutz Sheva reported that tensions caused by differences of opinion over the recent Gaza flotilla raid, had caused Arab residents of the village to threaten to expel the Jewish residents from the village.[4]. Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom's message of protest (and a brief response to this inaccurate reportage) can be found on its website [5].

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