Children of Peace

  • Maayan Schwartz
  • IL
  • 2022
  • 67 min

Founded at the beginning of the 1970s, Neve Shalom (Hebrew) or Wahat al-Salam (Arabic) was considered a peace village in which Jewish and Arab people were to live on an equal footing. Director Maayan Schwarz, who grew up there himself, paints a differentiated picture of an idealistic dream.

Director Maayan Schwartz is 35 and grew up together with Jewish and Arab children in the village of Neve Shalom / Wahat al-Salam, a utopian experiment created by a French Jew who converted to Catholicism. In this very personal debut film, a collage of modern-day interviews, archive material and old home videos, he is reunited with his childhood friends. They talk about hopes, awakening from an idyllic childhood, the initial dissonance experienced when the many young Jewish men joined the army; alienation, when the Arabs who grew up in the village are attacked, renewed rapprochement and fresh perspectives. To begin, he presented the resulting work in his home village, afterwards commenting in an interview with a local website: "A place like this necessarily acquires a large amount of ambivalence among its residents. There was a large dose of naivety in our parents’ generation. It was that naivety that enabled this place to exist… Everyone who came here thought they were coming to ‘live in peace’ but instead they had to deal with conflict all the time. WASNS (Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom) is not a bubble in some ‘real world’ - it is reality. In Israel, you can live in a homogenous place or neighborhood and never meet people who are not just like you. Here, you interact daily with the ’others,’ and for better or worse, that creates a complex situation.”

Text: Jörg Taszman
English: Peter Rickerby

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original title Children of Peace

international title Children of Peace

german title Children of Peace


  • director Maayan Schwartz

country/countries IL

year 2022

duration 67 min

Portrait of Maayan Schwartz

Maayan Schwartz

BIO Maayan was born and raised in Neve Shalom-Wahat al Salam. Growing up in a mixed community of Jews and Arabs, has profoundly shaped Maayan Schwartz's outlook on life and his approach to documentary filmmaking. Living in a place of mutual respect has given him an appreciation for the beauty of diversity, and has informed his work in film. His films explore the depths of the human experience, highlighting the need for connection, communication, and understanding across cultural boundaries. He strives to create stories that bring people together, inspiring hope and dialogue in the midst of conflict.." Maayan completed his BFA at "Sapir- Film School". In recent years he directed short films both fiction and documentary. Among them the film "My friend ,Yaniv" that was an official selection of IDFA 2016. "Children of Peace" his first documentary feature film.