Unlike most of the Arab sector, the Arab town of Shfaram has decided to take part in Israel's celebrations of its 60th anniversary this year, and hold ceremonies to mark the occasion.
The town's mayor Ursan Yassin and other local officials met with members of the state committee in charge of the celebrations Thursday to discuss the nature of the festivities to be held in town.
Yassin recently spoke with the committee chairman, Minister Ruhama Avraham-Balila, and stressed to her that while many in the Arab community felt unconnected to the historic date, Shfaram had no plans to be left out of the party.
Yassin told the committee that he objected to the incitement against the state among the Arab sector. "This is our country and we completely disapprove of the statements made by the Higher Monitoring Committee. I want to hold a central ceremony in Shfaram, raise all the flags and have a huge feast.
"The 40,000 residents of Shfaram feel that they are a part of the State of Israel," Yassin added. "The desire to participate in the festivities is shared by most of the residents."
The mayor stated, "We will not raise our children to hate the country. This is our country and we want to live in coexistence with its Jewish residents."
The committee members praised Yassin's words and vowed to include the town in plans for the state-wide events, including a traveling exhibit featuring Israel's achievement in the 60 years since its inception.
Minister Avraham-Balila also lauded Yassin's "courageous statements, saying it was time for the leaders of Israel's Arab community "to express what a large part of their public feels." The 60th anniversary events "are an excellent opportunity to emphasize the unifying aspects shared by all sectors in the country," she added.