They were discussing art projects aimed at promoting world peace, and a Palestinian in the group mentioned that something like that would be nice for him and his Israeli girlfriend.Nolan, who is neither Palestinian nor Israeli and has never been to Israel or the Palestinian territories (but whose girlfriend is Jewish and went on a Birthright Israel trip), decided to apply his conceptual art school training and professional app development skills to the challenge.
Considering Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza last summer and a recent spate of car ramming and other terror attacks by Palestinians against Israelis in Jerusalem, it would be nice to think that ultimately love can conquer all.
Writing in TNW News, technology journalist Mic Wright suggested Verona was “a wish fulfillment exercise by Western do-gooders unconnected to the realities of Israel and the West Bank” and that “its naivety is obviously going to upset people who have to deal with the daily challenges of what appears to be an intractable conflict.” Wright also wrote that Nolan told him that although he will never charge users or sell their personal data, he has no intention of Verona’s being a non-profit for peace, and that a major goal is to beat all the other apps at the dating game.
“This is a for profit business…I have ways of monetizing this. Everyone agrees that all the dating apps out there suck,” Wright quoted Nolan as saying.
“If you are offended by the app, then it’s not for you.” According to Nolan, he developed the dating app as a way to help people get around the elephant in the room, so to speak.
Despite the ongoing conflict, he is trying to help individuals from the two sides connect with one another.
In January of that year, Israeli high school student Ofir Rahum was murdered by Palestinian terrorist near Ramallah after they lured him there by posing online as a potential love interest named “Sali.” Although Nolan has read books and taken college courses on the Middle East and tries to keep up with news from Israel and the Palestinian Authority, he told The Times of Israel that he does not presume to fully understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.