Fire devastates Israeli school which brings Jews and Muslims together
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Fire devastates Israeli school which brings Jews and Muslims together

'Classrooms were severely damaged, the roof and ceiling partially collapsed, the wood sidings of the walls were burned, while doors, walls, windows and furniture, were destroyed'

A devastating fire has torn through a school in Israel which brings Israeli and Palestinian children together.

An investigation is under way to determine the cause of the blaze at the Oasis of Peace school.

Launched 40-years ago to promote coexistence, and situated between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, it is known as Neve Shalom in Hebrew and Wahat al-Salam in Arabic.

Oasis of Peace UK (OPUK) said “classrooms were severely damaged, the roof and ceiling partially collapsed, the wood sidings of the walls were burned, while doors, walls, windows and furniture, was all destroyed.”

Inside the school devastated by the blaze

It added, “fire fighters arrived quickly and were able to extinguish the flames before they spread to nearby houses. We are all profoundly thankful that no-one was hurt in the blaze, while an investigation has begun to establish the cause of the fire.”

OPUK also said it will join in the process of rebuilding, and it will “keep our supporters updated on developments and on the ways in which they can help.”

Chair of Oasis of Peace UK, Sir Andrew Burns commented: “In a year already filled with profound challenges for the community of Neve Shalom-Wahat al-Salam, the fire at the School for Peace is a truly devastating blow. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the community and the staff of the school at this time. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the coming weeks and months as they embark on the task of rebuilding. In typical Neve Shalom fashion they will emerge from this with even greater determination to improve relations between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. As the School for Peace director Nava Sonnenschein said today: ‘What cannot be destroyed is the dream of a better society with equality, peace, and justice.’ ”

The school’s director, Nava Sonnenschein, announced it will continue to function from another temporary location.  “We cannot afford to take a break. What cannot be destroyed is the dream of a better society with equality, peace, and justice in our country”, she said.

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