By Dorit Cypis and Heather Wellman
Abdessalam Najjar 1952-2012
Abdessalam Najjar was an important partner member of Mediators Beyond Borders ‘(MBB) Israel project. He was the co-founder and long time resident of Wahat al Salaam Neve Shalom/NSWAS, the intentional village of Palestinians and Jewish Israelis in Israel that the MBB Middle East Initiative, now the Israel Project, has been in partnership with since 2008. Many members have visited the village and made deep connections with Abdessalam assisting him with defining a custom multi-cultural mediation curriculum for Palestinians and Jews. He was deeply visionary and lived his vision of co-existence between Palestinians and Jews.
Najjar passed away on March 22, 2012 after working for peace his entire life. Members of his community remember him as embodying the meaning of his Arabic name: A Servant of Peace. MBB members also remember him as a compassionate man who held the mission of peace in Israel near to his heart.
Dorit Cypis, MBB Project Israel Team Member said, “I was honored to have spent time with Abdessalam in 2009 at WASNS/NSWAS, as a member of Mediators Beyond Borders, assisting him and Yoni Naftali with their multi cultural mediation curriculum. After a week at the village I grew very fond of Abdessalam and his subtle and most generous ways. Never will I forget the book he showed me of the community and peace work his father accomplished in his village in past times. Clearly, Abdessalam followed in his father’s footsteps, honorably. Many members of the MBB Middle East Initiative, now the Israel Project, have travelled and worked with Abdessalam since 2008. Each one has shared deep connection with Abdessalam and his vision of co-existance and peace. We mourn his passing.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Maureen Dabbagh. “Abdessalam’s work in peace building stands as a legacy to his compassion for others. I am privileged to have had the opportunity to learn from him. “ It is clear that Najjar will not be forgotten and his work has touched the lives and hearts of so many and made such a huge difference for the wellness of humanity.