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October 20, 2015

The Hummus Peace Process: Israeli Cafe Brings Arabs and Jews Together.

Hummus Basheer Tome Flickr

Following Israeli incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Islam’s third holiest place) earlier this month, there has been an eruption in Israeli-Palestinian violence leading to the deaths of more than 50 people.

And one Israeli cafe has had a unique response to the situation.

The owner of ‘Humus Bar’ in the town of Kfar Vitkin wanted to bring Arabs and Jews together. He wanted to highlight that behind the mindless violence are communities of real people who have no interest in engaging in violence. People who may have different religious beliefs, but still have plenty of common values and shared interests.

So, for the Jews and Arabs who share an interest in good food, Kobi Tzafrir posted a generous offer on Facebook last week. Announcing a 50% discount on tables where Arab and Jewish diners mixed, he said:

“Scared of Arabs? Scared of Jews?

By us we don’t have Arabs! But we also don’t have Jews… By us we’ve got human beings!

“And real excellent Arab hummus! And great Jewish falafel! And a free refill for every serving of hummus, whether you’re Arab, Jewish, Christian, Indian, etc.”

By Monday of  this week, his post had been shared more than 1,000 times. And, more importantly, people were taking up his offer.

Tzafrir said that, prior to this promotion, many Arab diners from nearby Palestinian towns did often come to the cafe. And he wanted to demonstrate that many Muslims and Jews did not support the violence that the outside world was seeing.

“We want to show that we’re all human beings, just like each other, not so different,”

He said that a lot of customers came in response to the Facebook post, wanting to support the idea. But, encouragingly, despite dining together and qualifying for the discount, not all customers are availing of it; choosing instead to support the cafe’s initiative by paying full price.

Initially intended to run for a few days, Tzafir is so heartened by the response he is now considering making it a permanent offer.

“A lot of customers now say they have seen the post and they tell me they’ve come to support the idea. Some Arabs come with Jewish friends, some Jewish families come alone. They’re all saying good things.”

This unique response to violence is inspiring, both in its simplicity and its effectiveness. It underlies what we all know to be true, if we look deep enough into our hearts: we are more alike than we are different.

Tzafrir looked around him and took a small step towards bringing communities together; one he believed would work.

“If there’s anything that can bring together these peoples, it’s hummus.” 

In the business world we are encouraged to look at successful case studies and ask ourselves how we can apply what works well to our own situation.

Applying the same logic, politicians of the world take note. Instead of talks about talks, can we have more peace processes like this, please.

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Sources:

Aljazeera.com

Times of Israel

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Relephant read:

Unity in Diversity: In Celebrating our Differences We Become One.

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Author: Hilda Carroll

Editor: Khara-Jade Warren

Photo: Basheer Tome/Flickr

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