Raouf | Acting for Peace

I believe Kids4Peace is thus the place where a real interfaith movement can be built. It is the place where we can give our children the chance to grow up believing in peace and justice, hoping that they will use these tools to do what they can to change the violence and discrepancy in our country.

RaoufDr. Raouf Azar was born in Bethlehem and lives now in Jerusalem.  He is an Arab Christian involved in the Lutheran Church and serves as a member of the Kids4Peace Jerusalem Steering Committee.  Two of his six children are part of Kids4Peace (so far!). 

Describe your background:

My father was born in Jaffa and became a refugee in 1948 in Bethlehem.  My mother was born in Nazareth.  My parents belong to this country where I also was born. It allows me to be sure that this is my place, the place where I should serve.  Yet otherwise, as a Christian, I believe that the place of living on this earth is not important.  What matters is how you live your life.

Is your family involved in Kids4Peace?

Yes, my daughter Carla joined Kids4Peace in 2011 at the Boston camp, and Charlie-Achim attended the 2013 camp in Atlanta.  After the first year, both my kids wanted to continue with the program. Thanks to Kids4Peace, they became more responsible and they are open to other people and new things. They are able to hear more, communicate,  and they can think much more to the outside of their own box.

What influenced you to work with Kids4Peace?

The love for all people living in this country. This is the Holy Land, but in the last hundred years nothing holy has happened here. I think through K4P, we can educate a new generation of kids believing in peace, in justice, and in having respect for others. Through K4P, we can bring together – and help build – friendships of families from different religions,  cultures , educational backgrounds, etc.

When my daughter Carla was accepted to be in K4P Boston 2011, I realized that Kids4Peace is a place where the seeds of peace are not only planted in the hearts of our children, but that these seeds can also be planted in our families.

I joined the Steering Committee because I think that I can help bring some stones together that can help us change and build together through the three religions.  We can work as a big family,  not only in talking, but also in acting in peace building.

How does Kids4Peace impact your daily life?

Kids4Peace influenced me very positively; it is not merely a wish for peace, it is an organization truly acting for peace.  I think my work with Kids4Peace is a way to let a new generation of Muslims, Jews, and Christians grow together as friends with the belief that they all have the same rights and duties in their one country.

What do you want to tell others about Kids4Peace?

We are not collecting the kids and the people to preach about politics.

We are bringing them together to learn about others, about their beliefs, their culture, and the background of others.  We are trying to help them find what they share in common, and to better understand the differences they have.

I believe Kids4Peace is thus the place where a real interfaith movement can be built. It is the place where we can give our children the chance to grow up believing in peace and justice, hoping that they will use these tools to do what they can to change the violence and discrepancy in our country.

We help them understand and believe that they as Christians belong to this country in the same way that Jews and Muslims belong to it.

What is the most powerful memory you have from Kids4Peace?

When we (from the 3 religions) came together spontaneously to pray for peace and ending the violence between Israel and Gaza.