The Open House in Ramle - a peace education center in Ramle, Israel

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Summer Peace Camp of Open House Ramle 2015

As in the past 24 years, we held our Summer Peace Camp in July for three weeks (1st to 22nd July). For Jews and Arabs to meet from an early age is absolutely essential if one is not to fall into the socially prevalent stereotypes on both sides which basically lead to the dehumanization of each other. Unfortunately, there are very few, perhaps counted on one hand, summer camps of Jews and Arabs in the country. Therefore, we invest so much in our Summer Peace Camp. It gives opportunity for children to meet and see that “she is a girl like me”. Of course, she is, but the obvious is still a deep insight- perhaps, the most important for our future.

summer camp group activity

Our rich program this year included fun multicultural activities like creation of costumes and dance; Mediterranean cooking and music, science and ecology workshops, outdoors trips like the famous Jerusalem zoo with its beautiful parks and outdoor space, horse riding in a horse farm, travelling to a water park, painting and sculpting according to the theme of the day. All these and more in smaller age groups of Arab and Jewish children.

Since it was Ramadan, the opportunity was used for each child to create ‘fanous Ramadan’ (a torch traditionally used during the nights of Ramadan) and prepare together traditional foods for ‘iftar'(the break of the Ramadan fast at night), which they were proud to bring home to their parents, as well as enjoy it themselves.

Educationally, the Peace camp also offers the teenager ‘graduates’ of the summer camp an opportunity to serve as helpers; so this year we had 11 young volunteers in addition to 8 counselors and 3 project directors with different responsibilities.

On the evening of the last day of the summer camp, we had a big party for children and parents with the exquisite Quartetoukan of Jewish and Arab musicians accompanying the beautiful singer Mariam Toukan who sang in both Hebrew and Arabic. Parents brought potluck to share and children prepared a dance performance.

Gratitude by all to the staff for this rare opportunity of Jews and Arabs to spend three weeks together was abundant!!!

We’ll probably see most of the children who are not yet twelve, in our Peace Camp next year!

Written by Vivian Rabia with Dalia Landau