Signs of peace on Israel-Syria border

Kibbutz youth on Golan Heights build giant peace symbol out of basalt stones to signal to Syrian citizens that peace is possible.

The largest peace sign in the Middle East. Photo by Adi Peretz

The largest peace sign in the Middle East. Photo by Adi Peretz

Summer vacation is in full swing, and while most youth around the country are poolside or at the movies, the youngsters at Kibbutz El-Rom in the Golan Heights opted to send a public message to their counterparts in Syria. They fashioned a 50-meter-diameter peace symbol from basalt stones set in the grass.

The friendly gesture was built to signal to Syrians that peace is possible even in their war-torn country, the youngsters told Channel 10 news.

Kibbutz El-Rom residents have witnessed the civil strife in neighboring Syria for the past two years. They say they constantly see smoke rising from the villages over the border and hear blasts. Mortar shells have exploded near the kibbutz in incidents deemed as errant fire.

The United Nations says at least 93,000 people have been confirmed killed in Syria’s civil war, though the real number is likely much higher. In its latest report, the UN human rights office estimates an average of more than 5,000 people have been killed monthly since last July.

Just over the border from this tragic situation, the universal peace symbol was constructed at the foot of Israel’s Tel Hermonit.

“It’s the biggest peace sign in the Middle East,” the young builders told Israeli media. “This is a sign for our neighbors who have been fighting for two years in the villages nearby. It is a sign for them.”

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About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. She has jumped out of a plane, ducked rockets and been attacked by a baboon all in the name of a good story. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.