Sunday, December 10, 2006

Co-existence during the Holiday of Holidays in Haifa

Each year around this time Haifa celebrates the Holiday of Holidays. Depending on the lunar calendar the Jews and Muslims celebrate their major holidays around Christmas.

The celebration consists of four consecutive weekends during which artists and artisans of all faiths display their work, musicians and theater groups perform and food is sold. It is a joyous time and it feels good to be together.

While few foreign tourists have discovered this event, Israelis flock in. Having read in the New York Times recently about Boston's effort to woo Black tourists (December 8, 2006), I was aware yesterday that there were very many Arab Israelis in the crowd looking in, buying and celebrating.

Later on I found myself in a coffee house along Ben-Gurion Avenue that is lined up with coffee houses and restaurants. Again, the crowd was mixed. There were tables with young professional at which Arabic was spoken and tables with Hebrew speakers. For the most part, the tables were separated. I was delighted to see a table at which there were young Arabs and Jews together.

Haifa is a city with indications of co-existence.

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