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The Only Democracy? » On The Ground Reports » Salem Music Center: 3-Year Plan

Salem Music Center: 3-Year Plan

The Salem Music Center is a venture developing gradually thanks to the ongoing cooperation between its local Palestinian initiators, from the village of Salem near Nablus, the Israeli volunteers of the Villages Group, and donors from Israel and abroad (especially from Australia and the U.S).

The first stage of this project, based on a proposal submitted last year, started on March 2010. The center’s founding team includes the project initiator Mr. Jubier Ihstayya (who serves also as a music teacher), the music instructor and teacher Mr. Amid Jamus and the project coordinator Mr. Fadi Ishtayya. The first class of 15 students is now about to complete its initial six months period of musical training. The result of this pioneering endeavor is an overwhelming success and sheer joy for the participants and partners alike (Erella’s story ‘The Sixth Lesson’, attached here as .pdf, captures the excitement we felt during this period).

In order to keep the momentum of this project going and to include in it many more children from the neighboring Villages of Salem and Deir al-Hattab, we hereby submit to you a new proposal for the Music Center. This proposal (pdf document linked) seeks to enable the center to continue running for the next 3 years (2011-2013) and establish itself as the core of creative development for the children of these two villages.

In the following months, even before the hopeful implementation of this 3 year plan, we wish to start a process of cooperation between the new music center in Salem and a well established high school of arts in Tel-Aviv. The school’s principal and the head of its music department have already visited the center in Salem and were deeply impressed by the progress of the pupils. We are now looking together for ways to form ongoing contacts between the school in Tel-Aviv and the developing center of Salem.

Reminder: The Villages Group is a small group of volunteers, which currently includes six Israelis and two Palestinians. Relying on 100% of volunteering work, our access to the big organizations and funds which demand much bureaucracy is very limited. It is our good fortune that we are backed, in many of our activities, by small organizations and individuals who grasp and understand the spirit of our group and its endeavors. The great potential of Salem music project is manifest and clear. This project was brought to life by the generosity of individuals and it needs your generosity in order to flourish and prosper. We are certain that it going to do so. For donations at any amount please contact us at

We end with a video sample from a rehearsal of the music center’s first class (we apologize for the poor video quality)


Ehud Krinis and Erella Dunayevski in the name of the Villages Group

(crossposted from the Villages Group blog)

(thanks Carin Smaller for help in translating the formal proposal)

By the way, Ehud is a scholar of ancient Jewish and Middle Eastern thought, and a friend of mine. To help the project please contact him directly at

Written by

Assaf Oron works as a statistician and moonlights (voluntarily) as a human-rights activist and blogger. He arrived in Seattle from Israel in 2002 for studies, and for now is sticking with the local greyness, dampness and uber-politeness, while plotting his glorious repatriation to the land of eternal sunshine and rudeness. Meanwhile, he tries to explain to anyone who cares to listen, what the Occupation is and why it must be ended now, not later. Assaf is webmaster for the Israeli human rights organization "Villages Group"

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