"At the end of the day, we all want to live here in peace, with equality and without racism ." A little over a week after unknown vandals damaged 28 vehicles and spray painted hate slogans on walls in the Arab-Israeli town of Abu Ghosh, Jewish and Arab teenagers met Sunday evening to promote dialogue and coexistence.
Education Minister Shai Piron took part on the event, which was held in Abu Ghosh. His office issued a statement saying some 800 people on hand "spoke in a different voice, a voice which calls for dialogue and coexistence. The education minister attended in order to arouse a voice that denounces the violent incidents and promotes extensive public dialogue focusing on Jewish-Arab coexistence."
- Op-ed: Our 'price tag'
- 'Arabs out' graffiti in Abu Ghosh
- 100 protest in Abu Ghosh in wake of 'price tag' acts
During the event, Piron said "a week ago a disgraceful incident took place, in which villains tried to destroy our society from within, but if it weren't for their actions we would not be sitting here together to create dialogue."
'Baggage from home.' Abu Ghosh event (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Tamam Abd El-Rahman, 16, head of the student council in Abu Ghosh, said "this dialogue is meant to help us find a way to improve the relations between us and act in a manner that is respectful of everyone."
Yuval Regev, 18, chairman of the student council at Modi'in's Maccabim Reut High School, said such events encourage "cooperation between Jews and Arabs in order to overcome the violence.
"I have come here with 'baggage' from home. Our generation grew up during the intifada and the highest level of violence. We were all in elementary school when buses exploded on a daily basis. We witnessed the pain and suffering," Regev said.
"The initial education for tolerance comes from home, and during the teenage years we are influenced by our peer groups, and if these groups are racist, then chances are you will also follow this path. This is why it is crucial that our education system address these issues."
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop