The West Bank is located west of the Jordan River between the State of Israel and Jordan. It is difficult to talk about this part of the world without offending someone. Ten Thousand Villages describes the place where our artisans work as the West Bank because that is the geographical location where they live. Sometimes referred to as Israeli-occupied West Bank, this area is home to Palestinians and a number of Jewish settlers.
Ninety-two percent of the population in West Bank is Muslim and the remaining 8 percent are Christian. United in their Palestinian heritage, Palestinian Muslims and Christians live together in relative peace. Living in the West Bank is not peaceful, however, as tensions between Palestinians and Israelis continue to escalate and violence is common. Suicide and vehicle bombings have killed numbers of Israelis and Palestinians in the recent past.
Traditional foods in this part of the world include mansef (rice, lamb, yogurt, bread and nuts), mosakhan (bread with fried onions and chicken on top) and waraq dawalee (stuffed grape leaves). Arabic, English and Hebrew are widely spoken throughout the West Bank. Education is mandatory in the West Bank and children are required to attend school from age 6 to 18. Although public schools lack space, materials and teachers, education is highly valued.