Jews and Arabs Join Hands for Peace

By Marlene Grunepeter
Marlene Grunepeter
Marlene Grunepeter
January 22, 2009 Updated: January 22, 2009

Arabs and Jews hold hands along a street. Despite differences, they have made an attempt to start a dialogue. (Tikva Mahabad/The Epoch Times)
Arabs and Jews hold hands along a street. Despite differences, they have made an attempt to start a dialogue. (Tikva Mahabad/The Epoch Times)
KFAR KARA—At the junction of the Arab village of Kfar Kara, Arabs and Jews stood in a peaceful demonstration, wearing white scarves and holding olive branches. They held hands together, standing silently and solemnly. Passing vehicles cheered their support for peaceful co-existence in Israel.

The symbolic chain of Arabs and Jews standing hand in hand, was initiated by Amana Kna’an, an Arab resident of Kfar Kara village, a mother of three and CEO of a society for women’s advancement. Kna’an established “Green Carpet,” a movement for promoting the social fabric of Jews and Arabs living side by side and developing tourism in Wadi Ara, a narrow ravine in the north of Israel that is home to both Arabs and Jews.

Her aim was to create a space where both sides can speak of the confusion, fear and frustration they experience during the war. Kna’an stood against the bombing of the South-Israeli town of Sderot, and before this war began, she went with other women to express their identification with the people of Sderot.

But such events don’t make the news, she said.

Eva Brenner, an artist, arrived from Austria days earlier. When friends told her about the demonstration, which was held last Saturday, she immediately decided to come along.

A woman holds a sign that reads 'For good neighborliness,' written in both Arabic and Hebrew. (Tikva Mahabad/The Epoch Times)
A woman holds a sign that reads 'For good neighborliness,' written in both Arabic and Hebrew. (Tikva Mahabad/The Epoch Times)
“The TV networks in Austria and Europe never broadcast the phenomena of Arabs and Jews who wish to peacefully co-exist side by side,” she said.

“They only broadcast the destruction and killing going on the Palestinian side. I believe peace can be made here, but they don’t show that in Europe.”

Neomi Geffen, a resident of the North-Israeli city Nahariya, isn’t usually politically active, and she never participates in demonstrations. But this time she did.

“I am angry with both sides for not stopping the bloodshed and for not thinking of creative ways to achieve peace”, she said.

Geffen believes that Israel should help the people in Gaza rebuild and condemns the bombing of innocent civilians.

“Arabs and Jews have a lot in common, but they prefer to stress the differences and to blame each other for starting first,” she said.

Living Together Despite Disagreements

Arabs and Jews hold hands along a street.  (Tikva Mahabad/The Epoch Times)
Arabs and Jews hold hands along a street. (Tikva Mahabad/The Epoch Times)
Taki Jacoub, an Arab from Kfar Kara Village and Offer Haramati, a Jew from the Israeli town Katzir, disagree about whether the war was necessary, but that didn’t stop them from holding hands and meeting.

Both their children go to the Jewish-Arab school named “Bridge over the Ravine.”
Jacoub said that war is not the solution, and history can testify for that. He thinks this current war is not justified. But he also thinks Hamas should account for firing against Israeli civilians for eight years.

He believes the current situation is a result of a leadership vacuum in Israel and in the Palestinian authority.

Haramati, meanwhile, is certain something had to be done to stop the missiles firing on the Israeli south, but he also admits that the scenes of killing in Gaza are not easy for him.

“We know very well how to die together. We should learn to live with one another,” said Haramati.

Jacoub said that the people in this area are sane, and will keep demonstrating how the two peoples can live side by side. He hopes that the right leaders will turn up and lead the children of both nations towards a peaceful future together.

[caption id=”attachment_79857″ align=”alignleft” width=”320″ caption=”Amana Kna

Marlene Grunepeter
Marlene Grunepeter