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Middle East village wins Swiss peace award

Neve Shalom is home to the region's only joint Palestinian-Jewish school.

(www.nswas.com)

A small village in the Middle East which is home to both Israeli and Palestinian families has been awarded the 2002 Humanity Award.

Representatives from the village, which is located between the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, were handed the award at a special ceremony on Sunday at one of the sites of Switzerland's national exhibition, Expo.02, in the town of Yverdon.

The annual award - which includes a cheque for SFr10,000 - is sponsored by the Swiss Foundation Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (GRA) in conjunction with the Swiss branch of the YMCA.

Neve Shalom, known in Arabic as Wahat al-Salam and universally as the village of peace, was founded in 1972 and today is home to some 50 Israeli and Palestinian families.

The village receives limited support from the Israeli government, but is mostly reliant on charitable donations.

Neve Shalom is also home to a "school for peace", the venue for regular seminars on conflict resolution which visitors from outside the village are invited to attend.

swissinfo recently interviewed two residents of the village, Swiss-born Evi Guggenheim and the Palestinian director of development at Neve Shalom, Daoud Boulos. To read the interview in full, click on the link below.

European Day of Jewish culture

The Humanity Award was part of celebrations across Switzerland and the rest of Europe for the Day of Jewish Culture.

Yverdon and Geneva were among seven Swiss cities to host events celebrating "the Jewish calendar" and festivities honouring Jewish art, music and cuisine.

Swiss cabinet minister, Ruth Dreifuss, herself Jewish, addressed Jews in Geneva where synagogues held special ceremonies.

swissinfo with agencies


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