Photo: Elag Gershgoren
Zoher Bahalul
Photo: Elag Gershgoren

We never had coexistence

Akko riots show that coexistence in city was merely virtual declaration

My beloved city, Akko, suffered a grave blow.


Akko was never a model of coexistence as many people claim. This was no more than a virtual declaration. Not only in Akko, but all over the world, there is no model of coexistence.


It appears that Arabs and Jews were never able to find the winning formula and were never able to bridge the immense gaps, which leave both sides close but far; neighboring but suspicious.


Akko is home to two population groups that are united by one common denominator: Business interests. This is indeed a significant motive, yet even this, with all due respect to its importance, is not everything.


The hummus is important, and so is the falafel, and people greeting each other, yet on the inside something is cracked. In essence, the abyss separating both sides is still there. It is lethal and destructive: The evidence of that is the latest outburst of fury and the violent clashes.


Recently, Akko underwent a physical transformation. Streets were widened, sidewalks were renovated, and palm trees were planted. However, those who invested in stones forgot about the people for some reason.


History repeats itself

Akko’s Arab population is suffering below the poverty line. Unemployment and inaction have turned the smoking of nargilas into the ultimate cultural activity, and those who did not bother to invest in souls got built up anger and immense frustration in return. Those who sowed poverty are now reaping the crime and drugs.


When the clashes erupted, because of a dispute about different worldviews, we were only dealing with semantics: Why the hell were they driving on that day of all days? And why wasn’t the violent mob pushed back? However, I was unable for even one moment to ignore the inevitable conclusion: The writing was on the wall, for a long time now. This was an inevitable clash.


Those who suppressed the importance of implementing the Or Commission findings for eight whole years, and those who deceived themselves with the typical and puzzling Middle Eastern invention that time will do its thing, were surprised again on Yom Kippur. Time and again we’re surprised. History repeats itself.


Unfortunately, we have been unable to identify the missing formula for coexistence. Perhaps it is hidden somewhere inside the black box. However, by now, the plane has already crashed.


פרסום ראשון: 10.11.08, 12:21
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