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Primary School Graduates Anthology

At the end of 2008, the American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, in cooperation with the village, released an Anthology of interviews of from school’s graduates.

The project sought to learn about the experience of children who attended the primary school but whose families live elsewhere - not only because children from outside the village today comprise around 90 percent of the students, but also because the students who live in the community have a very different kind of childhood.

The young interviewees are candid, thoughtful, and outspoken. At the same time, readers may find that much of what is conveyed by the young people interviewed here is conveyed between the lines – by what they say and how they express themselves, and also what they do not say.

In these interviews, fourteen young adults will tell you what the school is all about: learning in equality and respect about each other.

“They almost never treated a lesson as being about ‘coexistence’ in so many words. It was the overall atmosphere, warm and accepting and egalitarian and considerate. There was a homey feeling that they gave to everyone, like ‘you are one of us.’ I can’t describe it in words; it’s beyond words… Wow, it really makes me nostalgic. Classes like drama and media and swimming did it for me, things like that, that I would not have gotten somewhere else. It also helps that you don’t just sit with people in class for academic lessons; the school turns into one big experience.” – Niveen Barhoum, Primary School Graduate.

“It is definitely because of the Neve Shalom primary school. You learn how to look at a person without looking at their religion, etc. Also you look at the Israel-Palestinian conflict differently and view the actions of the army differently than others. It is difficult in the army for me because of the school I went to. In this case it is not because of my family. My father was a tank commander and my mother doesn't know much about the army. I am very different to the people in my base unit. They think I am strange.” – Hidai Gertel, Primary School Graduates about why being in the army is hard for him.

Read one of the interviews here and purchase the full Anthology from our online store.