Adjacent to a key West Bank crossroads, near the Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion, “settler” Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger and Palestinian political activist Ali Abu Awwad have teamed up to build a peace center where they challenge long held animosities and advocate for peace between their peoples.


A compliment to the Women Wage Peace story, Hanan and Ali form an unlikely team advocating peace in the occupied territories. Their story recounts a gritty five-year journey, and includes their individual evolutions and self-discovery that led to the forming of their organization.
Through their programs and workshops, they teach people, especially disenfranchised youth, soldiers and ordinary citizens, principles of non-violence, positive interaction with one another and techniques for working through seemingly intractable cultural, political and religious differences.

What makes their journey and story even more fascinating is the fact that the vast majority of Israeli ‘settlers’ often live their entire lives without ever interacting with their Palestinian neighbors, with whom they literally share the very same land. They are physical neighbors divided by walls, religion, culture and politics.
The idea of having direct conversations between Palestinians and Israelis there, is often as remote as peace itself in the Holy Land. Ali and now his nephew Shadi, together with Hanan are breaking new ground in their bid to espouse tolerance in others, foster understanding, and advocate for non-violence and reconciliationwithout victimization.

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