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What People Say about Peace Child Israel

We Didn't Know

When we met at the beginning of the year we didn’t know that , together, we would experience so many things. We didn’t know we would travel to Peki’in and surprise each other with our points of view so straightforwardly.  We didn’t know it would be natural for us to continue playing together during the breaks in the sessions. We didn’t know that we would be friends on Facebook, and that sometimes we would argue.  We didn’t know that there would be some female participants who would drop out  and that there would be people in our immediate circle who would be against meetings between both sides.

We didn’t know that it would be possible, in the group, to say what we feel and also what bothers us and we didn’t know that there would be someone who really listens.  We didn’t know that if we don’t pay attention we could really insult someone and that there are so many ways to say something.  We didn’t know that we are very much alike but also very different.  We didn’t know that we would get excited, that we would laugh and sometimes cry.

We didn’t know that we didn’t know enough about the “Nakba”, and that there are two stories.

We didn’t know a small role can be a huge role.  We didn’t know what the story of “Pocahontas”  had to do with us.

But now we know.

PCI group from Sakhnin and Misgav,

April 2011

In Arabic عرفناش انو


A principal in Petach-Tiqva writes:

We are in dire need of points of light like these in our world of racism and violence.

Kudos for the initiative and effort.

(This was written following the Israeli boarding of the Mavi Marmara ship bound for Gaza, which resulted in numerous civilian casualties and resulted in cancellation of a PCI presentation.)

Hi Melisse,

An important and interesting update (eloquently written as always)... Just wanted to say that I'll be thinking of these heroes during what is turning out to be yet another huge challenge for peace building...

So sad to hear that the students had their chance of performance taken away from them but am really encouraged by the actions and motives of those, such as the principal at Bakaa Al-Gharbiya, who are dedicated to the cause.

All I know is that if the history of PCI has anything to tell, it's that these young heroes really will find a way. It may be a bumpy road but I'm sure it will be a fruitful one.

 Sending hugs and all the best,

Daniel [Bevan]

(Consultant for War Child Holland)



Kids all around the world must experience what other cultures and people are about. Having them in your program or a summer camp program is very important so they can laugh and mingle without forced hatred of each other by political and religious leaders.


Steve Beilowitz

May 20, 2010 

(Donor since 2006 from Cherry Hill, NJ)

[After reading the article Youth Present: How to make peace]:



"Kol Hakavod" [bravo] Melisse,

Continue in this holy work that you are all doing. It is important, particularly these days as the hatred and racism grow in the ranks of the youth.


Goni [Rivlin-Tzur]


Israel Ministry of Education: We are familiar with the Peace Child Israel educational program that focuses on an encounter between Jewish and Arab children in theatrical activities, and view it in a positive light. More

March 28, 2010


But now the Peace Child video! It is so very moving seeing all those beautiful kids and seeing the work that you are doing and seeing that in the midst of all that hell going on around you and all those stupid ideas being pushed by radical minds, that YOU take an idea based on love and peace and hope and cooperation and future and give it and give it and give it even more to the next leaders in this world. That is what I call being a hero!

I love you and thank you for being in this world with me. It helps make things a little easier.

 Have a great Passover and....don't ask any questions.

Enjoy life.


Love Donald [Litaker]

Karlsruhe, Germany

Hello all,

Today Mira [the principal] called all the kids from the Peace Child group to compliment  them about the play ["The Little Prince"].  I updated her, as did Melisse, that the play was very impressive and that the kids acted extraordinarily.

During the conversation with them, the participants  all referred to the group process that they had experienced with the kids from Nazareth and that, in the early stages, they had fears, but that they have become close friends.

It was a very good conversation in a pleasant atmosphere.  All the children, (and me as well) are still in a "high" from the generosity and support from Mira and all the teachers.  I wish us all a successful continuation, with renewed energy for Nurit and Raida.

Orna Odesky

[school liaison, Zvulun/Carmel School]

JCD Lauds Peace Child Israel - UK charity spokesperson Daniel Burger, ""They produce original drama, taking these productions around the country, which are performed in Arabic and Hebrew for both public and student audiences and I was amazed at how professional these productions were whenever I have seen them.

"But, more importantly. I believe they are making a real and discernible difference to the way Jews and Arabs feel about each other." Continued at JCD Lauds Peace Child Israel

State of Israel

Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports

Central Region

April 10, 2008

Mr. Munzar Zabnah

Principal of the Orthodox High School


Mr. Eilon Naveh

Principal of Achad Ha’am School

Petach Tikva

Dear Sirs,

Re: Sima’s Kitchen – a joint production of the students of both schools

I had the pleasure of seeing the performance, a joint production of the two schools of which you are principals. It was obvious that the performance was the result of a complex and challenging educational process which comprises profound thinking coupled with artistic creativity. Your joint initiative offered your students a meaningful educational activity which facilitates talking to one anther, getting to know the other, and coping with a peaceful solution of conflicts. In my opinion, beyond the writing and acting talents that were manifested in the performance, the very production of a play in a full bi-lingual setup is a breakthrough which intimates optimism.

Special thanks to the PCI people. Please convey my appreciation and best wishes to the teachers and supporters, the students who wrote, produced and presented the play, and the directors, Shadi Facharledin and Efrat Barzilai.

Hoping you will continue your good work,


Aharon Schneider

Inspector, Central Region

 ...I’m proud that we’ve reached the final project, and although it seems to me that I haven’t made much of a difference – I know I’ve changed quite a lot of things, because now there are at least 40 Arabs who know that there are good Jews too, and there are about 30 Jews who know that there are good Arabs too. Stav Davidman, Meggido

 Stav's Experience

PCI was so important to me because of what it shows. What it is, is it shows that if you really think you can, no matter how much people put you down and try to rip you apart because of age or race, you can make a difference.

I made so many new friends and learned so much about the world from these kids!  Erin, the COW Project

After seeing the play, Six Actors in Search of a Plot, an American lady wrote:

The show was great and powerful. The twins really made a good an very accurate statement that helped understanding. My husband as a Palestinian has a lot of pain about the whole issue and it was healing for him in some ways. The truth about things the average American and especially Jew don't know was presented gently and the Jewish perspective was put forth. The panel discussion further was healing to hear the Israelis say the truth, say they hadn't known, say that we tend to not know, and to take action when they did know. The courage of the troupe and role modeling is also very hopeful as they care about each other in spite of difficulties and make progress with effort but still make it, as do many of our peace groups and discussion groups.

More Testimonials from PCI USA Trip

Dear PeaceChild Israel,

I recently heard about your organization and was so impressed by the little I heard I had to go and investigate. I have visited your website and although I haven't read everything, I am so impressed and touched by the work you are doing. I am a high school theatre teacher in Orange, California and to see a group doing work of the scope that you are doing is amazing.

I am in the constant battle with administrators who feel that theatre should not be "making a statement" in education, with colleagues who feel that there is not educational value in theatre and with students who think theatre is only for fun. Your organization illustrates the importance of theatre as an educational tool.

Thank you for the work you are doing and please let me know if there is any way that I can offer some help from here. As of right now I am planning on designing a lesson using your organization to illustrate one of reasons why people "do" theatre. Thank you again and I look forward to watching your efforts through your website. Rachael Paschal Theatre Educator, Orange High School, Orange, California


Melisse, I spoke to my cousin in London about fundraising; you know I want to help the amuta any way that I can, to stay active. I’m going to help get a Peace Child group to the congress in Morocco this summer; the organizers remember me as a PCI delegate in Hawaii in 1999” - Mr. Essam Daod, from Kfar Yassif, phone conversation, February 2003. “Class of ’99”, presently doctoral student at Technion.

I used to have long conversations with Yael [Drouyannoff] when I was in the workshop. I’ve wanted to facilitate a group ever since then”. - Mr. Tarik Aliani, from Kfar Nachef, from a conversation at a meeting in Dir Al Assad, November 2002;“Class of ‘96”, presently youth coordinator in Nachef; will facilitate Peace Child group in September 2003.

The most important lesson I learned from Peace Child Israel is that change is always possible” -Ms Omaima Khalifa, from Sheikh Dinun, quoted in Jerusalem Post, August 2002; “Class of 2000”, presently preparing for national service.

I don’t like to talk about politics. But when you talk about the daily lives of Arabs and Jews, you learn a lot. I made a Jewish friend called David, and he taught me a lot about Jewish culture, how people spend their time, how they live”. - Muhammad Tribieh, from Sakhnin, quoted in Jerusalem Post, August 2002; “Class of 2002”, presently in the 10th grade.

“I didn’t tell Muhammad to join, he wanted to. But I think it’s right that we ask how we can help each other, and such programs where you sit together provide an opportunity to slowly, slowly, raise our consciousness”. - Wadji Abud Tribeih, from Sakhnin, father of Muhammad, quoted in Jerusalem Post, August 2002.

I was very extreme left wing when I joined [Peace Child Israel]. I saw everything in terms of racism. But I realized that the situation here is complex, nothing is black and white. [In our play “Alice in the Holy Land”]… Alice wandered around the Holy Land talking to everyone and listening to every point of view. She was objective and saw all sides. Alice was taking the path that we all need to take”. - Odelia Ainbinder, from Jerusalem, quoted in Jerusalem Post, August 2002. “Class of 2000”, presently working as a group leader in Hashomer Hatzair, prior to army service that begins in October 2003.

Things that seemed clear two years ago are not clear anymore. I was cynical when I joined, doubting if we’d become friends – our culture and behavior are so different. But in the end we all laughed at the same things, ate together, worked together as partners. And you learn so much from just listening to a wider point of view than what you hear in the news”.- Inbal Shaked, from Yuvalim in Misgav, quoted in Jerusalem Post, August 2002;“Class of 2002”, presently in the 10th grade.

“…Yet despite the pain, the friction, the accusations and the tears, at the end of the seminar, no bitterness remained between the group participants. It seemed as thought they had gone through a rebirth by talking about their deepest angers, fears and pains with the “other”. There was a sense of relief, which liberated them from those feelings. Now it’s the kids’ turn to have it out. Quoted in an article in Ha’aretz on Friday September 6, 2002, by Orly Halperin, covering the Peace Child Israel facilitator training seminar in August 2002, Nazareth.

In these days of riots and uncertainty, we are glad that we participated in the "Peace Child Israel" program. Our friends are developing hatred for an entire nation in light of the terrible things which have happened. We can't.

We have friends who are part of that nation. We know that this nation, is being led to throw stones, also has parts in it with people who know how to listen and to bond, to understand the differences and ultimately to love with the love of a true friend.

Due to Peace Child Israel, during these days, we know that we have good friends in East Jerusalem and if the road to them is blocked, the path between us isn't blocked. Tal, Noa and Odelia, graduates of Peace Child Israel at Givat Gonen and Mt. of Olive High Schools in Jerusalem, 2000.

Peace Child Israel: Making Conflict Resolution and Dialogue Work in the Middle East

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