(photo credit: Courtesy)
Adam Hijazi and his father Ahmad of Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom (a cooperative
village of Jews and Israeli Arabs, sandwiched halfway between Jerusalem and Tel
Aviv along Road 1) were killed in a car accident on Monday afternoon in
Zanzibar, in which mother and wife Maram was injured.
18-year-old son, Issam, had stayed home during the Id al-Fitr
Hijazi, principal of the Oasis for Peace community high school,
was known by his colleagues and friends as a pillar of unity among the different
peoples that populate the community and its schools.
Earlier on Monday,
peers of soon-to-be fourth grader Adam Hijazi had spoken to their friend over
Skype from his African vacation in Zanzibar with his mom and dad.
told them he [was] having a good time, he was having so much fun, he [didn’t]
want to come back,” Reem Nashef, a Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom primary school
teacher told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday evening.
According to Nashef,
Ahmed “Hijazi was a neighbor, he was a well-educated person. He was a very good
speaker for the village, a peace activist.
“He knew how to speak with
Arab and Israeli youth about the Arab and Israeli conflict.”
Nashef said she and her colleagues received extensive training from Hijazi on
how to deal with the conflict in their classrooms.
“He was one of the
outstanding persons in the village to do this work,” she said.
Shbeta, the general manager of the community, said he has known Hijazi for
years, “from the moment he arrived here” at age 17 and began working as a
Afterwards, Hijazi studied at the Hebrew University and
returned to become involved with many projects in the village.
described Hijazi as “open in his opinions” and very understanding of other
“He was a very central person for Neve Shalom,” Shbeta told the
Post. “We miss him very much.”
Hijazi’s younger son, Adam, was likewise
quite beloved by community members.
Nashef, who was Adam’s science
teacher, described him as very intelligent and “the kind of boy who didn’t
consider himself a young boy – he considered himself a big boy.”
communicated with everybody,” she said. “He was a young adult boy, he loved life
and loved people.”
Adam was a social “star” of the school and “he played
with everybody,” of all ages, according to Nashef.
“I’m over 50 and he
played with me,” she said.
Such a social presence was Adam in the village
that the teachers sat down the other children today, from first through eighth
grade, to talk to them about what happened, as a psychologist and social worker
helped them through their tears, Nashef explained.
The children drew
pictures for Adam’s mother and his older brother Issam. Tomorrow, the teachers
will be sitting with the soon-to-be fourth graders and their parents, and the
funeral for both Adam and Ahmad will take place in the village on
By Tuesday afternoon, a photo of Hijazi and his curly-haired son
appeared on the wall of the Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom Facebook group with
both information about the accident and the comment: “It is too early for us to
absorb the depth of this terrible loss and tragedy.”
An outpouring of
people commented and showed their support on the wall, with over 200 shares, 79
comments and 103 likes for the photo by early evening. People wrote comments in
English, Arabic and Hebrew, expressing their condolences and personal memories
of the father and son. However brief their encounters with the school principal
were, contributors wrote that they were “touched by his passion” and his ability
to make something “united against all odds.”