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NSWAS elects a new leadership team

An interview with the new secretary, Castro Daoud

Monday 17 November 2003

On Wednesday, October 22 NSWAS conducted its annual elections for the positions of Secretary General (comparable to mayor) and the Secretariat (our governing committee). Accordingly, Castro Daoud replaced Abdessalam Najjar as Sec’t General. Six members were elected to the Secretariat. These are Hawla Dibsi, Eitan Kremer, Salim Layous, Rayek Rizek, Alon Shalom and Yuval Zak.

The secretariat

Castro Daoud was interviewed here on his new role.

Castro was born in Shech Danun village in the Galilee in 1963. He did his schooling in Kfar Yassif and later studied in Moscow University, receiving a degree in law. While in Russia he met his wife Janna, and the two returned to Israel, moving to NSWAS in 1994. Today they have three children: Alla, Baha and Dariah.

Castro Daoud

Castro has been an active member of the village, serving twice on the secretariat, twice in the Building and Planning Committee and three times in the absorption committee. Professionally he works as an attorney, with an office in Jerusalem.

Castro is fluent in Arabic, Hebrew and Russian and a little less fluent in English.

What attracted you to seek to election as secretary this year?

There were specific things that I would like to improve in NSWAS. One of these is to clarify the role of the secretary and make broader use of subcommittees, in order to delegate some of the secretary’s responsibilities. I also want to renew the ideological dialogue in the village, which I see as being central to the social fabric of our community.

What is your perspective on the current situation in the region?

I think we have in Israel a government that isn’t much interested in talking to the other side, so there is a total freeze in the peace process.

How do you see the place on NSWAS in the current reality of the Middle East?

Truly, I think we can contribute more to advancing equality between Arabs and Jews in Israel. We can be an example for the whole country. With regard to the political process, I think we can contribute only if we have clear opinions on the conflict which, as a community rather than a political movement, it is hard for us to establish.

What about contributing through educational methods?

That’s for sure. The School for Peace and the Educational System have much to offer.

What do you see as the main value of the village?

First we provide an example for equal coexistence between Arabs and Jews and secondly we conduct important educational activity through the School, the School for Peace and the Spiritual Centre.

Should the village support peace plans such as the Road Map, the Geneva initiative, etc.?

Yes. This week we heard a lecture by Knesset Member Haim Oron [who was instrumental in the Geneva accords] and in general we are interested in promoting discussion in the community on these things.

Why should people abroad support the village?

I think that what is important for them is the ideals for which NSWAS stands and our educational activities. NSWAS is trying to strengthen coexistence between Arabs and Jews, and everyone for whom peace in the Middle East is important should support such efforts.

What is the best form of support for this work?

Financial support, while not being the only support that is necessary, is very important. It is also important to us that people continue to express interest in what is happening here and in the region.

Do you think the relationship with our friends’ associations needs to be improved?

Actually this is something I still have to learn, since I haven’t been much involved in this aspect. I will rely on the professional role of our public relations office team and involve myself at the request of the staff and the friends’ associations.

How do you find the situation at present - financially, socially and administratively - in the village and its departments?

In the social field, I think we need to study the effect of the recent period on the fabric of our society and to develop a plan to improve it. I think there is much to work on in this area, and very soon the secretariat will put forward a work plan, involving activities, lectures, discussions etc. in order to strengthen dialogue.

In the financial sphere I already see that the school is approaching crisis and we need to invest greater efforts to raise money for it. Unfortunately I am not very optimistic about improving support from the state, though we will try.

On what do you intend to place most emphasis during your term of office?

As I said in the beginning, what I really want to do is awaken dialogue on the ideology and the main purposes of the village, and improve its social fabric. This is the main reason I sought this position, and I think it is particularly important to accomplish this now, since, with the expansion plan nearing final approval, the village stands before a period of major development.


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