Coming Together After the Fires

Following the fires that swept across Israel two weeks ago, NIF and our partners are working to reduce tensions and to help the affected residents.

NIF grantee Tag Meir organized an interfaith service at the Moriah Conservative Synagogue, which suffered significant damage. In a moving gesture, two Palestinian Israeli timber suppliers, Walid Abu-Ahmed and Ziad Yunis, decided to supply wood paneling free of charge and cover the labor costs to the damaged synagogue. Tag Meir chair Gadi Gvaryahu commented that “we need to extend our outreach to the majority of the Israeli-Arab population which is interested in coexistence. The wood supplier and the carpenter are a better representation of the Israeli-Arab population than the extremists.” At the service, religious leaders issued a joint call for the “fires of hatred” to be extinguished.

Other grantees were also active. The Leo Baeck Community Center helped remove materials from buildings damaged by the fires and are organizing joint activities for Jewish and Arab schools under the banner of “Planting Hope on the Carmel.” The Haifa Forum Against Racism and Mossawa organized a food collection, and Tebeka arranged for a group of students to help make sure that queries by Amharic-speakers to the Haifa Municipality were addressed.

Together, these organizations and many other people showed that Jewish-Arab partnership is much stronger than the forces trying to tear Jews and Arabs apart.

December 2016