Coliving for a peaceful future

ISRAEL: The many children brought up in the unique environment where a group of Arabs and Jews decided to challenge everything they know about their nationalities and histories.

Wahat al Salaam, or Neve Shalom, was established in 1970. From the beginning, Oasis of Peace – the name in English – stood out as a utopian vision of peace and coexistence. Israeli Jews and Palestinians established the village upon a dream of living together and serving as an example of a better future for both peoples.

«Here we see the Valley of Ayalon,» says one of the founders, Bruno Hussar, «where wars took place in the days of Joshua, the Maccabees, the Crusader wars, two of Israel’s harshest wars, and it’s like a desert of wars, and it is so right that Neve Shalom – Oasis of Peace – to be at the edge of a desert of wars.»

Hussar passed away a couple of decades ago, and the old clip with one of the real dreamers is right at the beginning of a new documentary by Maayan Schwartz, who is from the younger generation of Neve Shalom. He has taken it upon himself to document what has happened to this utopia and how his generation – the children of peace – has lost most of their illusions. That has become a thought-provoking piece of great relevance.

Children of Peace, a film by Maayan Schwartz
Children of Peace, a film by Maayan Schwartz

Difficult utopian vision

One of the interviewees describes a pastoral childhood. It was innocent and beautiful, and, as he puts it, «the cool thing was that we were unaware.» Unaware of the realities outside the utopia and unaware of cultural differences and ugly political development.

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The Oslo Accords in 1993 stood out . . .

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Hans Henrik Fafner
Fafner is a regular critic in Modern Times Review.

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