Peace Burb 

Lots of places have two names. Boise has its French name and a marketing name, the "City of Trees." In the Holy Land, nearly every place has at least three names: Hebrew, Arabic, English.

The name you use depends on your politics and your language, unless of course, you live at Neve Shalom-Wahat al Salaam, the best place name that could have been in the Bible.

Boise will host two folks from this experimental 30-year-old village halfway between Jerusalem (also known as "Yerushalayim" or "Quds") and Tel Aviv (pretty much just "Tel Aviv"). Ahmed Hijazi, a Muslim Palestinian Israeli, and Naomi Mark, a Jewish Israeli, actually live in Neve Shalom-Wahat al Salaam. The name means means "Oasis of Peace."

Though designated a village, the place is more Hidden Springs than Garden Valley; it's a commuter 'burb on a mission for peace.

In 1997, a group of Jewish and Palestinian activists gathered for an afternoon counseling session. The moderated discussion quickly disintegrated into a debate over the Holocaust. People cried. Left the room. It was a fiasco.

But nothing blew up.

Bringing folks together to talk is the radical idea at Neve/Wahat, home to about 50 families, half of them Jewish and half Palestinian.

"A lot of people say that the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians has been going on for thousands of years, that they'll never get along," said Deanna Armbruster, the executive director of the American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salaam. "It's an example of what is possible."

Ahmed and Naomi are on an annual tour of the United States to let people know that the conflict does not have to be personal, Armbruster said. That people have transcended politics in at least one neighborhood.

"There's not a lot of places you can do that," she said.

Ahmed and Naomi will speak Monday, March 5, 7 p.m. at St. Michael's Episcopal Cathedral, 518 N. 8th, Boise.

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