Abd Hakim Samara, the head of the Shari’a Court of Appeals and director of the
Shari’a Courts on Wednesday night beseeched President Shimon Peres to use all
the influence at his disposal to put an end to the violence that he claims is
pervading the streets of Israel in general and those in Arab towns and villages
Samara was among the many guests who attended the annual
iftar (break-fast) dinner that Peres hosts for Muslim kadis, imams, heads of
local councils and diplomats.
Samara said that while there were many
positive things he could say about life in Israel, he could not ignore the
aspect of violence.
It was becoming increasingly difficult to live under
the threat of the “civilian terror” that permeates the streets, he
He appealed to both the Jewish and Arab leadership to do their
utmost to eliminate the culture of violence which is seeping through
People no longer feel safe, he said. They are afraid of being
In the Arab sector there are young people under the age of 18
who have acquired arsenals of weapons, and more than eighty Arabs who have died
over the past year have been victims of acts of violence, he said.
urged spiritual leaders and school teachers to engage in the effort to curb
violence by teaching non-violence to children from the earliest possible
“We are all under threat, and we must find a way to stop this
violence and bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.
He also thanked
Peres for hosting the annual iftar dinner which made representatives of the
various Arab communities feel more included and part of mainstream
Earlier in the evening Peres had made the point that the
residence of the president is the home of all the citizens of Israel, “and as
you are all citizens of Israel, I hope that you feel at home here.” Peres added
that while visiting Arab villages around the country he had been very impressed
by the emphasis that is being put on education and stated that the government is
also aware of this and will make more funds available.
specifically to Arabs who are citizens of Israel, Peres said: “I see you as a
potential army for peace. Our Arab citizens can show our neighbors that
co-existence is possible and that all people can enjoy equal rights.” He made it
clear that while Israel’s Arabs are part of a progressive nation, “we have no
intention of intruding on your religious values.”