In the ancient port city of Akko, communal violence between Jews and Arab Israelis shocked many. No less one of Israel’s most famous Jewish leaders, Uri Buri.
The eponymous restaurant he has run for 32 years was destroyed in an arson attack by Arab-Israeli rioters. But it’s Uri’s reaction that’s so interesting.
He says he is sad but he feels no anger, no hatred and no desire for revenge.
Uri took me around the burnt shell of the place he cherishes and told me there were Arab and Jewish staff, chefs and customers.
“It’s a place where everyone mixes and no one thinks about religion or identity. And my only goal is to rebuild this place, ”he told me.
While we were there, many chefs and restaurateurs – Jews, Arabs and Christians – arrived to sign a pledge to reject division and embrace peace.
“There is no other way. We must meet the highest standards of coexistence for a better life for ourselves and for our children and grandchildren, ”he said.
In the heat and hatred of the raging conflict, it is of course likely that voices like Uri’s will be lost. But if he is heard, he may be received as a voice of optimism.
After their little ceremony in front of its burnt down premises, they strolled through the historic streets for lunch… in an Arab restaurant.