Steven Aiello

Israeli Students Speak: What is Peace

Jewish students in Israel, (ages 9-18) were asked to define “Peace” (Shalom) in their own words. Here are their answers


D: An agreement between two countries not to fight. When there’s hardships, to help one another. To visit one another.

E: The absence of war or conflict among major international powers.

A: It’s like when 2 kids are fighting and then they decide to make peace among them, it means that from now on they won’t fight.

E: Peace means no war, no crying, no anger. It means an agreement between two sides, and cooperating towards a common goal.

N: Unity

A: The feeling that I can live without fear that something bad will happen. That I can move around the country or the world without the fear that they will try to do something to me because I am Israeli or Jewish. Life without every few years there will be another round of bombs. That we will have to run to shelters or hear on the news on a daily basis that there was another attack, hours people were murdered in the street. Just think of security. 

T: Diplomatic relations; the opposite of war.

N: Opposite of a state of war.

S: Love for everyone, to be there for the other, and to respect everyone, how they are, regardless of background.

Y: An agreement between countries to stop fighting, and the countries eventually become into friends.

I: An agreement between countries.

N: Shalom/Peace is a greeting between people, or an agreement between countries.

B: Peace to me is really when people get along with each other

O: When two countries are not fighting, and instead work together in partnership

N: When there are two countries fighting, and they reach a peace agreement so that people in their countries can live in security. Peace is a word that connects people. God willing it is possible to find solutions.

E: Peace means going to the bomb shelter less. More life, less violence, more understanding and love between people. It’s better for everyone and fun for everyone.

M: To live in partnership with everyone.

C: Wow that’s a really hard question to answer. For me it is just to know that everyone is doing great and more of it actually feeling good. That anyone is believing and doing what they want. For example one of my goals is to seek inner peace (to be happy with things that i achieve)

Y: An agreement between two countries to be in peace, and not to attack one another. To divide land and not fight over it.

B: No wars; quiet.

S: A situation where two sides don’t fight, and where there is no hate between people.

I: Everyone loves one another, and there’s no fighting over anything.

Y: Countries that don’t fight one another.

T: A state of non-conflict which happens when two world leaders meet together in the same place, and then talk until they reach an agreement.

O: When you respect one another, each with different practices, religions, cultures, customs, and views, and when you also help one another.

N: Peace is like reconciliation between friends. Or a conflict between countries that is resolved through negotiation, for example the situation we are in now of war, because of course we will eventually reach peace.

Y: In Israel, a country surrounded by enemies, peace is not something to be taken for granted. We’ve found ourselves in war against one or more countries numerous times, and now we are in a war against the terror organization Hamas. War has a serious impact on how the country functions, since so many resources get diverted to fighting the war. For example, the Israeli economy is hurt because so much must be spent on military equipment. Moreover, war causes many civilian and military casualties. In conclusion–peace between countries is very important, and we need to make peace in order to know that we are protected.

About the Author
Steven Aiello is the Director of Debate for Peace (, and a board member of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development NY. He has a BA in Economics, MA in Diplomacy and Conflict Studies, and MA in Islamic Studies. He teaches Model UN for schools throughout Israel. Among his other hats he serves as Regional Coordinator for Creating Friendships for Peace, and Dialogue Officer at Asfar. Steven has also served as Chief of the Middle East Desk Head for Wikistrat, interned for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the American Islamic Congress. His writing has been published in the NY Daily News, Jerusalem Post, Iran Human Rights Review; Berkley Center at Georgetown;, and the Center for Islamic Pluralism. He can be reached via email at
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