In many parts of the world, immigrant Jewish and Arab populations live uneasily together, conscious of the tension that continually threatens the peace of their ancestor's homelands in the Middle East.
GV People through busy shopping centre (3 shots)
CU Handshake symbol of 'SAARA' business Association
SV Arab and Jewish shop-names (5 shots)
SV Goods hoisted into shop window
SV People taking coffee in shop
SCU Lebanese restaurant owner Jorge Yunes at till (2 shots)
SV Businessmen at table (4 shots)
SV Shop-owner Lauand with clerk in shop
SV Jewish business-man Cherzman (right) with Lauand walking
SV PAN Shoppers along street
SV Cherzman and Lauand talking with friends
SV Shoppers buying goods (4 shots)
SV PAN Children with goods past camera
SV Girl shoppers down street with bags
SV Busy shopping centre
Initials ES. 1730 ES. 1821
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Background: In many parts of the world, immigrant Jewish and Arab populations live uneasily together, conscious of the tension that continually threatens the peace of their ancestor's homelands in the Middle East.
In the thriving shopping centres of Rio de Janeiro however, the large immigrant communities of Jews and Arabs live side by side in firm friendship, and the competition between them is one of commerce.
Their shops are close together and, far from trying to avoid each other, the shop-keepers often from personal friendships and have even founded 'SAARA', a now powerful Arab-Jewish business association.
The businessmen do not forget the differences that keep their compatriots apart in the Middle East. After the Munich attack resulting in the deaths of eleven Israelis last year, jewish merchants closed their shops in protest.
Arnaldo Cherzman, Jewish President of the Business Association, said that "the stores were closed, not against any Arab country, but against all terrorism in the world." Following the Munich tragedy, Arabs did not close their shops, but they expressed personal condolences to their Jewish neighbours.
SYNOPSIS: Merchants from the two communities often meet socially. Restaurant owner Jorge Yunes, immigrated from Lebanon in 1888, and he is still active in serving his Jewish and Arab customers who come every day for their lunch-breaks. As they mix together, there is no hint of the tension that continually threatens the peace of their homelands in the Middle East.
Shop-owner Felipe Lauand's Syrian parents immigrated from Syria in 1911. He said that although the Arabs came to brazil first, they welcomed Jewish businessmen who followed.
Most of the district's businessmen agree that this inter-community spirit has remained unchanged, despite the foundation of Israel and the tension following the 1967 conflict. lauand and his Jewish friend Arnaldo Cherzman are funding members of SAARA -- the Arab-Jewish Business Association. The powerful ten-year-old Association now has four-hundred members representing five-hundred stores.
The strong business and social ties created among the immigrant merchants of Rio de Janeiro have made for a peaceful and thriving atmosphere -- an atmosphere, say the merchants, all too often unknown among similar Arab-Jewish communities in other parts of the world.