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Neve Shalom, for 40 Years the Tiny Israeli Village Where Jews and Arabs Live Together on Purpose.

My boss was a thick-bearded Arab-Israeli, the only man I ever met in the Middle East named Voltaire. Voltaire and I were in the early stages of building a huge playground for a school. I was a volunteer construction worker in Neve Shalom or, in Arabic, Wahat al-Salam"Oasis of Peace," alluding to Isaiaha small village between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. For nearly 40 years, the village has been an intentional community where Muslims, Christians, and Jews have decided to live together to endorse coexistence.

This was 2006, when the Muslim world was gripped by anger over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad first published in the Danish press the year before. News footage showed Palestinians burning Denmark's flag and using it as a doormat. We never talked much while working. But the furor over the cartoons was bothering me. A few months out of college, I had applied to volunteer in the village because I believed in its idealistic mission. Now here I was having not very idealistic thoughts.

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Author:Freeman, Joe
Publication:Tablet Magazine
Date:Aug 5, 2015
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