Fire near Jerusalem. .
(photo credit:POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Givat Haviva, the educational institute for a shared society in Israel, along with two mayors from Jewish and Arab municipalities, penned an open letter in the wake of the fires that have struck the country, calling on the public not to give into hate and blame and to continue collaborations between Jews and Arabs.
Itzik Holevsky, the mayor of Meggido, a kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley; together with Mustafa Agabriya, the mayor of Ma’aleh Iron, a nearby Arab local council; Yaniv Sagee, executive-director of Givat Haviva; and Riad Kabha, the director of the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace, signed the letter.
“Part of the forests of Ramat Menashe caught fire, but you cannot burn the links and connections between us, Jews and Arabs in the area of this forest,” the letter states.
Ramat Menashe, part of UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves, is located on the Carmel Range, between Mount Carmel and Umm el-Fahm.
The regional council for Ma’aleh Iron council in the letter asks its residents to support their “partners” in Meggido, who are dealing with the effects of the fire.
“If this was arson then it does not represent anyone in our common community. Those responsible for this are criminal and terrorists not only in the forest but also against people in the area, Jews and Arabs alike,” the signatories wrote.
The mayors said they had been working together for the past two years with Givat Haviva to promote coexistence and cooperation among the municipalities, including establishing joint endeavors to develop the surrounding environment.
“This is the hour for the vast majority whose heart is open and whose home is open to the ‘other’ to come together and unequivocally condemn any attempt to harm, ignite, burn and incite,” the letter states.
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