The goal of the present project is to allow a group of young Israelis and Palestinians to ascend a demanding and emblematic summit in the Alps, namely the Mont Blanc. In addition to the physical and emotional experience, this ascent will have a high symbolic value, inasmuch as mountain climbing requires extensive solidarity between participants. The event will thus serve to illustrate the possibility of solidarity between Jews and Arabs. This symbolic Value, which promotes the idea that peace in the Middle East is indeed possible, will be illustrated in a film covering the project from start to finish.
General Goals 
  • To provide a group of young jews and arabs with an opportunity for experiencing coexistence.
  • To give momentum to a permanent program of common israelo-palestinian activites in the Alps, on a yearly basis.
  • To train participants in the building and leading of mixed groups for outdoor activities, so that they may in turn use this tool to promote peaceful coexistence when returning to their country.
Goals 1 and 2 were already those of the 2010 project. In view of the experience gained, it is realistic to add Goal 3, which entails a multiplicative effect.

Expedition timetable 2011:
May-July 2011: Group & Field training in Israel
Mid of July - end of July 2011: Alpine training and summiting in the Alps.

Project Leaders

Doron Erel was born in 1959 in Tel Aviv. He trained in a Swiss climbing school (Leysin) where he gained experience exploring the French and Swiss Alps. He is the first Israeli who climbed Mont McKinley (1987) and Mount Everest (1992). He presently belongs to the very restricted group of top level mountaineers who successfully climbed the "seven summits", i.e. the highest mountain on each continent, including Antarctica. He has been active in Alpine rescue operations, including a search for survivors of the 1990's Lenin's Peak avalanche, which was the worst disaster in climbing history (40 victims). In 2004, Doron Erel participated in the expedition "Breaking the ice", which led 4 Palestinians and 4 Israelis together to the top of a yet unclimbed mountain in Antarctica. This expedition aimed at proving that people from different political and religious backgrounds can co-operate with each other.
Presently, Doron Erel introduces groups of young people to rock climbing.
In 2010, Doron Erel was a leader in the Mont Blanc project.

Ulfat Haider was born in Haifa, where she presently lives. She is Arab. Ulfat received a B.A. in Physical Education from the Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sports and worked as a high school physical education teacher for 12 years. She is a certified Outward Bound Instructor, having worked with this organisation (http://www.outwardbound.org/) to lead at risk teenagers through outdoors activity. A volleyball player since she was 12 years old, Ulfat Haider spent several years as the only Arab member of the National Volleyball Team. She is an Israeli Ministry of Tourism licensed tour guide. Ulfat Haider has been involved in several projects promoting peaceful coexistence between Jewish and Arab youth in Israel. She participated with Doron Erel in the expedition "Breaking the ice". She helped to create the Palestinian-Israeli Unity Project (PIUP), a joint effort between Breaking the Ice and the North Carolina Outward Bound School. This project brought Arab and Jewish teenagers from Haifa to the North Carolina Mountains in the summers of 2005 and 2006 for an intensive wilderness expedition. Ulfat Haider is currently responsible for helping the PIUP students with their follow-up projects in Haifa. In 2010, Olfat Haider was a leader in the Mont Blanc project, to be described below. The weight of group building and dialogue fostering fell on her shoulders, and her competence in these areas were crucial to the final success.

Jean Troillet was born 10 March 1948 at Orsières and lives at La Fouly in Valais. Of Swiss and Canadian nationality he obtained his mountain guide qualifications in 1969. He has reached the summit of ten peaks of more than 8000 meters, all climbed in the alpine style, and without oxygen Jean Troillet is also seafarer (shipmate of Laurent Bourgnon onboard Primagaz) and a photographer (Animan magazine). Jean Troillet is actively involved in helping young people with difficulties. In January 2008, he created his Foundation, with the goal of promoting mountaineering and outdoor activities with juvenile delinquents. Jean Troillet takes them out in the woods, to walk, make fires, and discover simple things. "I talk to them about life, tell them how important it is to remain focused, as with high altitude mountaineering. Descent is the most dangerous, when one believes that victory is behind. Some react very positively, and it is a wonder to watch them change".

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