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Diplomats host David Broza benefit concert for Neve Shalom - Wahat al-Salam

Sunday 10 June 2007

On Sunday, May 27, 2007, more than two hundred guests gathered at the Greek Ambassador’s residence for an event hosted by His Excellency Mr. Nicholas Zafiropoulos and Mrs. Zafiropoulos.

Everyone in this multicultural happening - diplomats and their partners from around the world and Jews and Arabs from the region - had come for a single purpose, namely to express their support for the village of Neve Shalom - Wahat al-Salam and its primary school.

The event, featuring legendary Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza (performing gratis), was initiated by the Diplomatic Spouses’ Club in Israel, who approached Mr. and Mrs. Zafiropoulos with the request to host the event in the spacious garden of their beautiful ambassadorial residence in Kfar Shmaryahu.

The story of the event began in March, when Mrs Inara Eihinbauma, the wife of the Latvian ambassador to Israel and president of Diplomatic Spouses’ Club came to visit us. She already knew about NSWAS and its activities to advance peace, equality and justice in Israel and better relations between Israel and its neighbours in the region.

In April, a delegation from the Diplomatic Spouses’ Club, seventeen in number, visited Neve Shalom - Wahat al-Salam and its primary school (photos). Among the party were club members Mrs. Mary Martinez and Mrs. Carmella St. John, who led the effort to prepare for and produce the event along with Mrs. Eihinbauma. All were impressed by the activities of the village and became acquainted with the needs, which helped them to organize and market the benefit.

The evening began with an open buffet. People met, socialized, and savoured a rich variety of appetizers, foods and beverages provided by a highly proficient catering.

The delegation from the Village included Eyas Shbeta, chair of the municipal society of NSWAS and four Communications and Development office staff (Rita Boulos, Deb Reich, Howard Shippin and Ahmad Hijazi). They mingled with the guests and minded a table displaying materials from the village. Throughout the evening, they answered many questions about NSWAS and thanked the guests for their presence and support. Among those present was Mrs. Ruth Dayan, who has been an engaged friend of NSWAS in Israel for more than ten years (and this year was the recipient of the Partner in Peace award). Naturally, she too contributed her share in introducing NSWAS to others.

Following the buffet, the guests took their places before the stage and Mrs. Lynne Zafiropoulos (wife of the Greek Ambassador) spoke words of welcome. She was followed by Diplomatic Spouses’ Club chair, Mrs. Inara Eihinbauma, who thanked all those who had helped in the evening, and then by Ahmad Hijazi, who told in brief about the village and its activities.

Next came the main part of the evening, as David Broza took the stage for a high-energy rendition of his peace songs and his other popular songs in both Hebrew and Spanish.

David Broza contributed this concert towards the children of the Neve Shalom - Wahat al-Salam primary school. Between songs, he told anecdotes about his involvement with the village through his grandfather Wellesley (Pinchas) Aron, who came to live in NSWAS at the beginning of the 1980s with his wife Coral.

Following the concert, Ambassador Zafiropoulos thanked the attendees and lauded the evening’s worthy cause. Modest prizes were distributed to all those who had assisted. A good natured raffle followed, whose prizes included two air tickets to Athens, courtesy of Olympic, an air ticket to Spain contributed by Iberia, a lithograph of Chagal and a sculpture.

In the meantime, David Broza autographed a steady stream of CDs purchased by the audience. Proceeds from the raffle and the sale of disks augmented the earnings from the entrance tickets – quite a few of which had been bought by people who knew they would be unable to attend but wanted to show their support anyway.

At the end of the day, the event was a huge success. The audience had a wonderful time; Neve Shalom - Wahat al-Salam attained valuable exposure and moral support; and the Oasis of Peace primary school gained much-needed funding.

See more photos of the event

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