Daoud Nassar is a Christian whose family has a farm near Bethlehem in Palestine called Daher’s Vineyard named after his grandfather Daher Nassar, who started it in 1916.
“We are planting mostly olives, grapes, and other trees,” he said. Then he added, “This land has been in danger of confiscation since 1991.”
The farm of about 100 acres is in an area that Israel controls and where the country is building a concrete barrier that will cut the farm off from Palestine. In this area, two governments with religious differences — Jewish Israel and largely Islamic Palestine — claim some of the same land.
In 2001 the Lutheran Mr. Nasser started the Tent of Nations, an educational and environmental project that brings people from around the world to the farm “to build bridges of understanding, reconciliation, and peace,” as the project’s Web site tentofnations.org states. “Our way of action in order to keep the farm, in order to make it a place of encounter, we created a nonviolent way of action under the title Tent of Nations. We refuse to be enemies.”
Besides being a host at his family’s farm, Mr. Nassar travels to raise awareness. He will be in northwest Ohio this week, as part of a tour to about 20 places, mostly churches, to give his perspective on issues involving the Middle East and to bring “the sound of hope.”
On Sunday, he preached the sermon at the Riverside Church in New York City. He will be at the Roman Catholic Corpus Christi University Parish, 2955 Dorr St., at 7 p.m. Thursday, Hope Lutheran Church, 151 W. Center St., Fostoria at 7 p.m. Friday, Zion Lutheran Church, 1501 W,. Liberty St., Ann Arbor Saturday at 10 a.m., and Zoar Lutheran Church, 314 E. Indiana, Perrysburg Saturday. At Soar. Mr. Nassar will preach at the 6 p.m. service and give his presentation afterward.
Mr. Nassar said he will deliver “a message of hope from Bethlehem, from that area, because the news is always reporting the negative and we hope to change the picture in terms of the positives coming from there.” He emphasized that in “the conflict and the unjust situation there, we are talking about people, human beings, families, children. This is important, not just statistics and numbers.”
Mr. Nassar said that the purpose of Tent of Nations is “to bring people together who refuse to be enemies” and he urged people to “act in a positive way and try to overcome all our obstacles, all this hatred, and try to overcome that with love.”
“It is a difficult situation,” he said, “and we need you to be with us and not to take sides.”