Hundreds of Israeli Jews and Arabs rally for peace
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Hundreds of Israeli Jews and Arabs rally for peace

Around 700 people form human chain in north of country, call for coexistence and condemn violence

Discussions between Arabs and Jews after a “human chain” event calling for coexistence on October 16, 2015 (JTA/Facebook)
Discussions between Arabs and Jews after a “human chain” event calling for coexistence on October 16, 2015 (JTA/Facebook)

Approximately 700 Jews and Arabs held hands in a chain in the central Galilee to call for reconciliation amidst a wave of violence throughout Israel over the past few weeks.

The symbolic gathering on Friday afternoon was organized by Givat Haviva, an educational organization that promotes Arab-Jewish coexistence.

The group of Arabs and Jews assembled and held hands on both sides of Route 65, near the Megiddo Junction in Wadi Ara, an area in the Galilee with a large Arab population.

Organizers called the event “a symbol of coexistence and shared life, specifically at this tense period.”

After the event, entitled “Choosing to Engage,” Givat Haviva held a small ceremony with discussions.

Givat Haviva issued a declaration before the event titled “Call for a Secure and Shared Life in Israel” that condemned “any attack on body, soul or property, as well as any expression of physical or verbal abuse.”

“We appeal to the leaders of both peoples to refrain from incitement and the ferment of emotions,” the statement read. “Our task at this time is to inspire calm and ensure public safety.”

The declaration was signed by seven mayors of Jewish and Arab municipalities in the Wadi Ara area.

A joint Jewish-Arab demonstration against violence was set to take place in Jerusalem Saturday evening.

“Arabs and Jews want to live in security,” organizers wrote on Facebook. “Real security, without occupation and without killing. We know that only with a just solution to the conflict will we be able to stop the killing and the hatred, to build a different reality. A reality of security.”

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