With the Jewish high holiday of Yom Kippur coinciding this year with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) Muslims in mixed towns and cities in Israel were concerned that there would be confrontations between members of the two faiths.
With this in mind, representatives from the two communities have met in Ramle and agreed to make every effort to preserve the calm over the holidays, including a reduction in volume for the loudspeakers in local mosques.
"Eid al-Adha is a festive day marked by the slaughter of sheep and visits to family members. Yom Kippur is the opposite," said Hassan Abu Abid, a member of the local council.
"We took a step forward and set up a meeting at the mediation center with representatives of the municipality, the police and the clergy, and coordinated our positions," he said. "We agreed that the Muslim community will hold low-key celebrations in the city, and will not let off any fireworks. The volume of the loudspeakers in mosques in the morning will also be lowered."
The festival of Eid al-Adha, which marks Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Ishmael, closely mirrors the story of Abraham's agreement to sacrifice Jacob at God's request. It is celebrated with the slaughter of a lamb, as Muslims believe that Abraham, or Ibrahim, sacrificed a lamb in his son's stead.
Abu Abid expressed his desire for both holidays to be marked harmoniously.
"On this day we will spread the message of coexistence," he said. "We have even agreed not to light grills if the next-door neighbor is Jewish. In neighborhoods in the town this is very important."
The meeting, however, was met by indifference from some residents, who expressed a desire to celebrate without restrictions.
"We always respect the Yom Kippur War. This year, our holiday falls on the same day. There is no such thing as not celebrating," said Ahmed al-Obara.
"The Jews are the ones who must give in and respect our holiday undisturbed. Just as we do not ask them to close their restaurants during Ramadan, so they must also not ask us to go out and celebrate properly."
A mother of three from Lod also expressed concern over the collision of dates.
"Today it is very worrying," she said. "My sons insist on driving around in the car and celebrating. I hope that it will pass quietly and without any problems. I would prefer for them to stay at home until after Yom Kippur, but that cannot be controlled."