Nes Ammim is a village in the North of Israel, situated between Haifa and the border to Lebanon. What is special about this village? It was founded and is inhabited by a Christian community of European volunteers. We live and work together with Israeli neighbours and colleagues, Jews and Arabs.
Learning and Dialogue – both intercultural and interreligious – are important pillars of this community. In the Galilee many people know the Nes Ammim Hotel. It is open to all Israeli and foreign guests. As a specialty, many local dialogue groups come here for their seminars. The hotel is at a large extent operated by volunteers and thus the main source of regular income for the community.
The development of Nes Ammim is closely connected to the history and the current political situation. During and after the Shoah – the genocide of six million Jews in Europe during World War II – many survivors sought refuge in Palestine. In 1917, the Balfour declaration promissed a Jewish homeland and in 1948, the new state of Israel declared its independence. About ten years later a group of Christians in Europe decided to live in Israel to show solidarity with the people – to contribute to the state of Israel.
Nes Ammim was founded in 1963 and has stayed until today a place where volunteers from Europe meet Jews and Arabs. They come to find out firsthand how people in Israel and the Palestinian Territories live, what they believe in and what they think about the conflict and the peace process.
The aims of Nes Ammim
The aims of Nes Ammim have developed over the years, just like Israel has developed. Today Nes Ammim wants to:
- facilitate the reconciliation of Jews and European Christians after the Shoah.
- foster exchange between European and Arab Christians.
- show practical solidarity with Jews and Arabs in Israel.
- inform volunteers comprehensively and in a well-balanced manner about Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Judaism and Islam.
- support dialogue between Jews and Arabs.
- free the Christian theology of anti-semitism and of its compulsion to missionize Jews.
The name “Nes Ammim”
“Nes Ammim” means “sign for the nations” and refers to the Old Testament, Isaiah 11:10. In this phrase, God promises an everlasting peace in paradise to all people of the earth.
The pioneers who founded Nes Ammim in 1963 named the village Nes Ammim because they came to Israel to work for peace and reconciliation between Jews and Christians.
The sign of the village is a symbol of agriculture with a Christian background. The ear of wheat represents an agricultural community, of which most of Israel was dependant on when the pioneers built Nes Ammim. The fish is the ancient symbol of the Christians. The ear of wheat and the fish overlap: Israelis and Christian volunteers meet in Nes Ammim.