There are numerous reasons why reconciliation is important among Young Adults.
First of all, this demographic represents the largest portion of the population for both Israeli and Palestinian societies, with the median age being 30.5 and 24 respectively. An estimated 42% of the Israeli population is under the age of 24 and 69% of the Palestinian population is under the age of 29.1 (USIP, 2021).
Second, enmity and hopelessness within this segment of population is extremely high. Only 12% of Palestinians and 23% of Israelis claim that they have spoken with someone from the other side, and the majority in both societies believe that the ongoing fighting will never end (PCPSR, 2017).
Third, young adults tend to be the most exposed to violence. Around 22% of Palestinians and 15% of Israelis have partaken in violent political demonstrations, and 39% of Palestinians and 33% Israelis indicated they would be at least ‘somewhat likely’ to participate in a violent political demonstration in the future (NCBI, 2019).
These disturbing findings highlight the urgent need for positive engagement among young adults and the reason we at Musalaha design our reconciliation process to be relevant to this demographic’s political and socio-economic realities.
Musalaha runs two different types of programs amongst young adults:
First are our cross-border Israeli-Palestinian groups. We offer a variety of reconciliation experiences: 5-day desert encounters, overseas reconciliation trips, leadership trainings and more.
Second is our two-year Palestinian Muslim-Christian Volunteer project in Bethlehem. This program starts with a 5-day desert encounter, 6 reconciliation workshops based on Musalaha’s Curriculum of Reconciliation, overnight volunteer training workshops, and an exchange between Palestinian and Danish Young Adults. At the end of the program, the group volunteers for 3 months in schools and organizations, running activities designed to build relationships and create positive experiences among Muslims and Christians from a young age based on equality, justice, volunteerism, and unity.