Little Town of Bethlehem

July 26th, 2011

At Christmastime, we think of Bethlehem as the peaceful little town where Jesus was born, a star shining and angels singing overhead. But today, Bethlehem is one of the most divided and turbulent towns in the Middle East.

Little Town of Bethlehem is an award winning documentary that shares the gripping story of three men who were born into violence, and willing to risk everything to bring an end to violence in their lifetime.

Sami Awad is a Palestinian Christian whose grandfather was killed in Jerusalem in 1948. Today, Sami is a leader of the nonviolence movement in Palestine. He is the executive director of Holy Land Trust, a non-profit organization that promotes Palestinian independence through peaceful means.

Yonatan Shapira is an Israeli Jew whose grandparents were Zionist settlers and witnessed the birth of the Israeli nation. Today he is an outspoken advocate for the nonviolent peace movement, both in his homeland and abroad.

Ahmad Al'Azzeh is a Palestinian Muslim who has lived his entire life in the Azzeh refugee camp in Bethlehem. Today, Ahmad heads the nonviolence program at Holy Land Trust, where he trains others in the methods of peaceful activism.

The stories of all three protagonists intersect in Bethlehem. The city is home to Sami and Ahmad, and it is where Yonatan first experienced the nonviolence movement. We are captivated by the idea that in the city of Bethlehem, where it is said God became man, these men stand alongside others whose central desire is to be accepted and treated as fully human.

Our hope is that the telling and hearing of this story will be a catalyst for anyone seeking nonviolent solutions to any complex situation. People often ask us whose side we are on. Our passionate reply is that EGM is on the side of nonviolence. Another way to think about nonviolence is equality. Little Town of Bethlehem doesn’t focus on who’s right or who’s wrong. The focus is on three men from different places, with different backgrounds who struggle together toward this common goal through nonviolence.

EGM has partnered with various youth and ministry organizations on educational programs. If your church is interested in learning more please contact Dave Palmer at

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