Photo: Ahiya Raved
'Our hands did not spill this blood, but we are still required to be the victims'
Photo: Ahiya Raved

Sane people on each side, unite!

Op-ed: Jewish and Arab leaders must work to stop the journeys of revenge before the fire of hatred spreads and eats away at every good spot.

n the midst of the fast of the month of Ramadan, we, the Arab citizens in the State of Israel, are going through quite difficult days. These times are presenting us with dilemmas which, like the rest of the state's citizens, we do not wish to face.



We are facing the Jewish mob which is furious over the murder of the kidnapped teens, while the extremists demand "revenge now" and call for the killing of Arab citizens. The seeds of hatred are starting to create a dangerous storm, with the tam-tam drums providing the rhythm from far away in the background.


The Arab communities have suddenly emptied out of Jewish buyers and visitors, and the details of the painful tragedies are broadcast on the radio over and over. The communities are withdrawing into themselves, filled with anger.


Where do we go following the despicable murder of the three teens and the murder of the youth from east Jerusalem, which was likely the byproduct of the heated atmosphere and the presence of blood avengers?


The Arab citizen in the State of Israel feels a lot of insecurity these days. There is no doubt that this feeling will accompany him especially when he visits the Jewish communities, and I assume those same feelings accompany the Jewish citizen in the Arab communities.


I will not be exaggerating if I say that many of the Arab citizens in Israel are now walking around with a sense of frustration and anger, finding themselves dragged into a scary whirlpool in their relations with their Jewish neighbors. In our throats we are choking back the shout "our hands did not spill this blood," but we are still required to be the victims.


The recent events have created a murky atmosphere. A black cloud has descended upon us. Under the protection of this cloud, the radicals arrive from both sides, with their leaders, at every junction and at every microphone, waving the flags of hatred and separation and taking their rage out on the silent civilian majority.


The common Arab citizen who wakes up in the morning and goes to work in an Arab town senses that even some of his Jewish friends feel uncomfortable around him, even if they won't say it to him out loud.


At times like this, as the ground burns under our feet, the public must look for a leadership to pave its way. The sane people on each side should get up today, at this extremely dangerous time of emergency which has been created, and call on the entire public: Calm down!


The leadership on both sides must rise at this time and stop the journeys of revenge and the torching of tires, before the fire of hatred spreads and eats away at every good spot.


The common Arab citizen expects the leadership of the majority in the state – the government, the ministers and the Knesset members – to work to calm the situation and direct us all to a safe harbor.


Ali Zahalka is a school principal from the Israeli Arab town of Kafr Qara.


פרסום ראשון: 07.07.14, 00:07
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