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Middle East Peace Programs

Global Peacemakers Meet Youth in Jewish and Arab Communities

Families in an Orthodox Jewish community opened their homes to Palestinian youth in a Global Peacemakers Project. After one host woman mentioned that her son was a soldier, Tareq Ghaith, a Palestinian, said to himself: “Please, God, not with this family; not with this mother.” But he was assigned to stay with her.

“I talked with this family all night about the occupation in Palestine, the wall, bombs and many things,” he said. “Then I felt better. We grew very close to each other, and this mother called me ‘my son’ at the farewell party. I left with love for this family, and I hope to see them again.”

The Global Peacemakers Project offered twenty-one participants from eight countries opportunities to understand the Arab-Jewish conflict first-hand, engage in community service, and become leaders capable of helping to solve conflict. They spent time in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, an Orthodox community, and the city of Haifa. They worked with children in summer camps and an orphanage, visited the elderly, and planted vegetables.

The Jewish and Palestinian participants came with different viewpoints and a lot of skepticism, but they were encouraged to keep an open mind. The Israelis could see their situation differently through the eyes of the international participants.

When people take care of an area, it begins to feel like home. An Israeli Jew helping to pick up garbage around a Carmelite monastery reported, “I felt as if I someone had come and thrown garbage in my back yard. I felt like I was cleaning my own house. Seeing how the place looked when we finished made me very proud.”

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