As the atmosphere that produced the riots in Akko ebbs, a jolted city tries to repair its fragile microcosm. Hundreds made their way on Wednesday afternoon to the 'Peace Sukkah' erected in the city by the Shomer HaTzair movement to take part in a unique reconciliation summit.
Honored guests at the event included Knesset Members Rabbi Michael Melchior (Labor) and Sheikh Abas Zkoor (United Arab List – Ta'al), and prominent Islamic leader Sheikh Abdullah Namir Darwish.
Darwish, a members of the Islamic Movement in Israel, addressed the attendees in Hebrew: "Bless all those who have come here to help and strengthen the coexistence in Akko, but those who have come from outside Akko – whether they be big or small, bearded or not – those who have only come to incite and come between the residents is an unwelcome presence in this city. We have learned from you, Akko, how to live together."
Bridging the gaps (Photo: George Ginsburg)
Darwish recalled meeting a woman whose home had been damaged in the riots: "That elderly woman told me that if her house was the only victim on the path towards strengthening the coexistence in Akko then she is angry at no one. We must erase from our minds, our hearts and our guts this madman's idea that only one of us can live here."
MK Melchior discussed the incitement that began on Yom Kippur. "We will not accept any form of incitement. It is written that in the sukkah there must be room for every Jew. In Israel's sukkah there must be room for its Muslim and Christian citizens. We must cast out those who incite, and who hate, and leave room only for the good.
"We all share the same God, we were all made of the same image, regardless of whether we are Jewish or Arab, and from now on we must work together without dwelling on what was but rather only on what is."
The activities for Jewish and Arab youths are scheduled to continue throughout the holiday.