Music in the Key of Peace

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Feb 9

Visit of the German Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Joint Arab Jewish kindergarten in Hilf (Reposted from Ein Bustan’s FaceBook)

This past Thursday, 2/2/12, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Germany and member of the Bundetsag Mr. Ruprecht Polenz visited the joint Arab-Jewish kindergarten Ein Bustan, in Hilf, accompanied by a delegation from the German Embassy. The Mayor of Bosmat Tivon, Mr. Muhamed Zubidat (Abu Yassin) also joined the visit. The joint Arab Jewish kindergarten of Ein Bustan, which runs a bi-lingual kindergarten, is attended by 50 children in 4 age groups, half of them are residents of Kiryat Tivon and the other half - from the Bedouin towns Bosmat Tivon, Hilf, Zubidat and Zarzir. The kindergarten was founded in 2005 as a joint initiative of Arab and Jewish parents from Kiryat Tivon and Bosmat Tivon and its surrounding villages. Mr. Polenz, who  was visiting in Israel and attended the Herzliya Conference, is active in encouraging good relationships between countries and also between peoples from different countries and religions. Mr. Polenz became aware of Ein Bustan through a group of the kindergarten’s supporters in Germany, and visited the kindergarten in order to express his appreciation and support.

The visiters visited the kindergarten and were invited to participate in a special ceremony that takes place every week towards the end of the week. The ceremony is in honor of the upcoming Shabbat (The Jewish Day of rest, on Saturday) and Jumaa (Friday - the day of rest and prayer for Muslims). During the ceremony the children sang in both Arabic and Hebrew, and two kindergarten teachers, one Arabic speaking and the other Hebrew speaking, lit two candles. Amir Shlomian, CEO of the Maayan Babustan NGO, that runds the kindergarten, explained to the visiters that the joint lighting of candles in two languages has symbolic meaning: “In order to be One, I need to get to know the Other”. The kindergarten puts an emphasis on being open and respectful to the culture and language of each people.

Ruprecht Polenz thanked them for the warm welcome and remarked that in light of the deep divisions that mark Israeli society, there is great significance for projects such as this, that bring different segments of Israeli society together. “Together you will enrich each other -  if you are united you will have a stronger society.”

The Ein Bustan kindergarten is now in its 7th year, under the supervision and license of the Ministry of Education, and plans to open a joint Arab Jewish primary school as the natural continuing framework for the kindergarten’s graduates. Registration is now open for the next school year.

[From Amitai: Two things you can do. First visit their site. Second, show some love (donate) for this wonderful initiative. When it comes to successful peace initiatives, education is key, and no school does it better than Ein Bustan.]