Kibbutz Eilon in the western Galilee voted overwhelmingly this week to accept its first Arab family, with 116 out of 124 members backing the move.
Originally from the nearby Bedouin village of Arab al-Aramshe, the Mazal family had been renting a home in the kibbutz for the past year.
Parents Mahmoud, 49, and Hadil, 32, are both nurses and have three sons: Yazan, Adam and Amari.
Mahmoud told the Ynet news site that he befriended a fellow student from Eilon while in college, which led him to live on the kibbutz for several years in the 1990s.
New Kibbutzniks! A Bedouin family recently joined a Kibbutz in northern Israel. Hadeel&Mahmoud Maz'al:"We love it here!" Welcome & good luck pic.twitter.com/rgcgUyQJNq
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) July 11, 2017
He added that his father grew up on a kibbutz after being adopted by a Polish family at age 10. “Our decision to move to the kibbutz was completely accepted by our families and my mother even congratulated us. We are totally involved in kibbutz life.”
The Mazal parents each took on community projects over the past year at the kibbutz. Mahmoud helped establish an emergency medical center where he and his wife both volunteer. Hadil helped create a recreational center, which provides programming for children and their parents, the report said.
Further explaining their decision to move to Eilon, Mahmoud told Ynet, “We believe in coexistence, love the sense of togetherness and the level of love, warmth and compassion.”
Kibbutz security coordinator Moshe Amsalem attested to the character of the new members. “I have known Mahmoud for 20 years. The entire family is an inseparable part of the kibbutz, and we see them as part of our lives.”