Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom
Bruno Hussar - Founder of Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom
Tuesday, 13 January 2004

Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom was founded by the dominican brother Bruno Hussar (1911- 1996), with the intention of creating a place where the people of this land would live together despite national and religious differences, and who would conduct educational work for peace.

FR. BRUNO HUSSAR, who passed away on February 8, 1996, was the visionary who dreamed of and eventually established the community of NEVE SHALOM - an oasis of peace - a name he derived from the biblical quotation in the book of Isaiah (32:18) "My People shall dwell in an Oasis of Peace". The germ of the idea came to him in the ’60s but its realization evolved slowly until 1970, when he settled upon a barren hilltop loaned to him under long term lease by the Latrun Monastery. Several years of harsh pioneering in the most inhospitable and uncomfortable conditions followed.

Fr. Bruno believed that the dream had finally manifested itself when the first young married couples joined him and began to make their homes on the hill top. The following quotation from his autobiography, When the Cloud Lifted, tells about those early years.

"We had in mind a small village composed of inhabitants from different communities in the country. Jews, Christians and Muslims would live there in peace, each one faithful to his own faith and traditions, while respecting those of others. Each would find in this diversity
a source of personal enrichment.

The aim of the village: to be the setting for a school for
peace. For years there have been academies in the various countries where the art of war has been taught. Inspired by the prophetic words: "Nation shall

not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more," we wanted to found a school for peace, for peace too is an art. It doesn’t appear spontaneously, it has to be learnt.

People would come here from all over the country to meet those from whom they were estranged, wanting to break down the barriers of fear,
mistrust, ignorance, misunderstanding, preconceived ideas - all things that separate us - and to build bridges of trust, respect, mutual understanding, and, if possible, friendship. This aim would be achieved with the help of courses, seminars, group psychology techniques, shared physical work and recreational evenings."

From Fr. Bruno’s autobiographical book When the Cloud Lifted..., Veritas Books, 1989.