Yom Kippur and Id al-Adha to coincide, could lead to clashes, warns professor

Kamaisi: Fringe groups likely to exploit situation.

By
October 1, 2014 07:48
2 minute read.
A PALESTINIAN vendor shows a sheep to customers at a livestock market in Khan Yunis

A PALESTINIAN vendor shows a sheep to customers at a livestock market in Khan Yunis. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Yom Kippur coincides with the Muslim festival of Id al-Adha this year, with both falling on October 4, leading to concerns of intercommunal conflict on the rapidly approaching date.

Prof. Rassem Khamaisi, a lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Haifa, warned on Sunday that the starkly different characteristics of the two religious holidays could give rise to misunderstandings and tensions.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar and is traditionally observed by fasting, refraining from bathing and other physical comforts as well as day-long prayers in synagogues.

Id al-Adha, however, is a festive celebration involving large family and communal feasts to commemorate the Muslim tradition in which Abraham was willing to submit to divine will and sacrifice his son Ishmael although ultimately a lamb was sacrificed instead.

Jewish tradition holds that Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac not Ishmael.

“There is a chance that the ignorance of Jews and Muslims of their neighbors’ customs and festivals will cause violence and rioting,” Khamaisi warned in a position paper on the issue.

The professor said there was a growing concern that many Jews will take the behavior of Muslim Arabs as a deliberate insult to their sensitivities, while at the same time, Arabs could interpret this attitude as an attempt to infringe their expression of happiness on the holiday and a form of religious coercion.



“Fringe groups are likely to exploit the situation in order to carry out racist and violent actions that will deepen the existing divide between Jews and Arabs,” Khamaisi said.

He said the best way to combat such an eventuality was to increase public awareness in both communities as to the special circumstances of the coincidence of the two religious holidays on October 4.

The professor called for the involvement of the president, religious leaders and social activists in such a campaign, as well as the state school system. Mayors of mixed cities, where conflict could be more likely, should also play a central role.

He called on the Israel Police to prepare appropriately for the day and to prevent Arabs from celebrating their holiday amid Jewish population centers observing Yom Kippur.

“Our assumption is that proper preparation and increased intercultural familiarity will alter perceptions of denial and racism and allow tolerant behavior patterns to grow within the two communities,” Khamaisi said.

Related Content

August 17, 2018
Netanyahu interrogated for four hours in Case 4000 media bribery probe

By TAMARA ZIEVE