“Two households, both alike in dignity … from ancient grudge break to new mutiny/Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”
In Shakespeare's play, love doomed Romeo and Juliet. Matthew Nolan, founder of a new app he called Verona as homage to the couple's native city, hopes love will help heal the Middle East. Verona is a social and dating app that matches Israelis with Palestinians.
“Is my app going to spark world peace? As much as I would love to take credit for igniting world peace, it’s going to take a lot more than my app, but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s a shift,” Nolan told VICE.
The app’s tagline boasts, “World peace, one swipe at a time.” Verona, which is modeled after the swiping style of Tinder, was launched in March for Android and will be releasing a version compatible with iOS in June, according to Digital Trends.
Verona currently has between 1,000 to 2,000 users and of those users, the majority are college students living in the United States. However, Nolan reports that there are also a few users from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Ramallah.
On Tinder, the user fills in basic information like whether they are a man or a woman; on Verona, the user indicates whether they are Israeli or Palestinian.
“If, for example, there is an Arab woman who lives in Israel but wants to identify as Palestinian, she can do so and can still meet someone to fall in love with. We have hundreds of users here that are Jewish or Arab who do not necessarily live in one of the two countries, but nonetheless identify themselves as Israeli or Palestinian,” Nolan said in an interview with Ynet.news.
Nolan, who is neither Israeli nor Palestinian, but in fact a white guy from Detroit, was inspired by a close friend of his, who is Palestinian and fell in love with an Israeli girl. Nolan is more than just a tech geek. He is also a professional dating coach. By pairing his two areas of expertise he hopes to create many new couples.