For 45 years, the unique community of NSWaS has stood in the Latrun hills- a beacon of hope in a land riven with conflict, and an example of successful peaceful coexistence between Israeli Jews and Palestinians.

The Founder

Father Bruno Hussar (1911-1996)

Born a Jew in Egypt, Father Bruno Hussar joined the Dominican Order in 1953.

When his work took him to Israel, his experiences of the conflict led him to the vision of creating a place where as co-citizens of Israel, Jews and Arab Palestinians (both Christian and Muslim) would live together, bringing up their families together in peace.

In 1972 the dream became a reality when the first couple came to join him on a barren and waterless hillside.

In the aftermath of the Six Day War and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, young Israelis and Palestinians were soon attracted by Bruno’s vision of peaceful and harmonious living between Jews and Palestinians. In 1972 the first pioneers joined him in establishing the community which, for some time, lacked basic resources like housing, electricity and running water. During these early months, the pioneers lived on an old bus sourced by Bruno. In the following years they built, often with their bare hands, what is today a thriving and beautiful shared community. Many of the original pioneers remain prominent residents to this day.

Once established, Bruno and the other pioneers turned their attention to complimenting the shared living model with a complimentary educational system. “For years”, Bruno wrote in his autobiography, “there have been academies in the various countries where the art of war has been taught. Inspired by the prophetic words: ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more,’ we wanted to found a school for peace, for peace too is an art. It doesn’t appear spontaneously, it has to be learnt.” Thus, in 1979 the School for Peace was established. For 40 years its unique methodology has been famous throughout Israel for its ability to bring together Jews and Palestinians and break down the barriers of division and conflict.

The residents of NSWaS also recognised that children’s education in Israel played a vital role in perpetuating suspicion and hostility between the two peoples. Jews and Arab-Palestinians were rarely taught alongside one another in a climate of full equality and respect, with both Arabic and Hebrew afforded equal status. So, in 1984 NSWaS opened Israel’s first dedicated bilingual, binational Primary School and established innovative methods for teaching in both languages and for creating a natural and equal learning environment that promoted familiarity and respect for the separate national, cultural and linguistic identities of the children.

We are delighted to say that both educational institutions remain shining examples to this day, supported in part by funds from Oasis of Peace UK. Together with the tireless work of the residents of the NSWaS, they ensure that the community remains the beacon of hope and model for the future envisaged by Father Bruno back in the late 1960s.

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