PRIMER | Arab Communities and Jewish-Arab Relations in Israe...
PRIMER | Arab Communities and Jewish-Arab Relations in Israels Mixed Cities
The shoreline of Jaffa | Photo Credit: Ze'ev Stein, Pikiwiki
In May 2021, violent riots erupted in and around Arab towns and mixed cities throughout Israel. Triggered by confrontations in East Jerusalem and the related flareup between Israel and the Hamas in Gaza, the events escalated into two weeks of clashes involving Jewish and Arab citizens, police, and military forces at a scale reminiscent of the Events of October 2000. Mixed cities were at the heart of the most severe intercommunal violence, drawing widespread attention and concern about the causes and implications for JewishArab relations in the country as a whole.
Mixed cities are where Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel live in closest proximity, under the same municipal umbrella. Because or despite this proximity, contentious issues in JewishArab relations (i.e. socioeconomic gaps, civil equality, land disputes, mistrust) are often accentuated. On one hand, this makes mixed cities a microcosm of JewishArab relations in Israel, from which insights into their challenges and possibilities can be drawn. On the other hand, every mixed city is unique, with specific barriers and opportunities for stronger and more resilient community relations.
This short update is a basic primer on Israel’s mixed cities: what they are, their general characteristics, and examples of their significant distinctions. Whether for purposes of understanding JewishArab relations in Israel in general, for looking at the future of areas becoming more mixed, or addressing issues in these mixed cities specifically, the following is intended as an orientation to the interplay of national and local issues and capacities to address them.