For the second consecutive year, one hundred Israelis and Palestinian Arabs converged on YESHA Council Chief Foreign Envoy and Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi’s sukkah in Efrat to celebrate coexistence.
Revivi agreed to keep the identities of the Palestinians secret after four of his guests were arrested and interrogated for four days by the Palestinian Authority for participating in last year’s event.
Local Palestinian Arab leaders from half a dozen local cities and towns attended and spoke at the event. The highlight of the event was a musical ensemble of Muslims and Jews playing music that fused both traditions.
Attending the event were Efrat Chief Rabbi and founder, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, IDF Judea and Samaria Division Commander Nir Aran, and District Police Commander Morris Chen.
Welcoming his guests, Revivi explained that the Sukkot holiday is the ideal time for this annual event.
“Succot is out of the ordinary,” he said. “During Sukkot, we are commanded to go outside of our homes. Just as the weather is beginning to change for the worst and celebrate, we are exposed to the elements. Making peace, like Sukkot, will only be achieved by taking extraordinary measures and utilizing out-of-the-box methods. First, we must have peace locally between neighbors and only then will we be able to foster national reconciliation.”
Speaking to his Palestinian Arab visitors, Revivi said, “You are heroes and I salute your bravery for coming here today. It should not be taken for granted that this event is happening for the second year in row, after the outrageous Palestinian Authority arrests last year.”
“We cannot allow those who prefer separation over coexistence to prevail, we must continue to break down the imaginary walls that separate us and continue to build bridges between our two communities.”