Two days after the eruption of the riots in Acre, which began on Yom Kippur, October 8, 2008 (read here, here and here), we felt it was essential to reassess the situation in Jerusalem. Here there aren’t really any mixed Palestinian/Arab-Jewish neighborhoods, so our hope is that the events in Acre will not stimulate events in the city. Nevertheless, a few weeks ago there were some incidents in Neve-Yaakov and Pisgat-Zeev, two Jewish neighborhoods in North-East Jerusalem where Palestinians have recently bought apartments. We will have to keep up our attention in these areas, and probably also in other sensitive places where Jerusalemites might encounter each other on Succot and Simkhat Torah.
At the same time, since we have a role in the region as a consultant for inter-cultural issues, we talked today with officials in the Acre Community Work Department about their next steps there. In Lod, where the JICC consults regularly to inter-cultural processes and issues, we suggested that the multi-cultural forum of lay-leaders that we helped create in the last two years, will meet on Sunday, analyze scenarios for the coming week and suggest proper response. This forum also works with the local police.
We all hope that the events will soon be over. Most important of all, we do not want these events to deteriorate, as happened in October 2000. Although the formal mandate of the JICC is in Jerusalem, we feel responsible to share our expertise with other mixed cities in Israel.