For three years the city of Jerusalem has been united, and an informal experiment in peaceful co-existence between Arab and Jew has met with highly successful results.
For three years the city of Jerusalem has been united, and an informal experiment in peaceful co-existence between Arab and Jew has met with highly successful results. Some 4,500 Arabs travel daily from the Eastern sector to work--with Jews--in the Western sector: now the sharing has gone beyond the realms of labour, encompassing education, housing and restaurants.
Every day the Arabs arrive in the western sector with their nylon bags full of food ready for a day's work alongside Jewish workmen. They get the same pay and social rights as the Jewish workers and for the first time, find themselves with social security in case of accidents at work or when their wife becomes pregnant. For the first time, also, they belong to a trade union which negotiates on their --and their Jewish colleagues--behalf with the employers on conditions of work and pay.
One such project of combined labour is the new housing complex being built by the Israeli Ministry of Housing. The project is for Arab occupation. In many factories, garages and stores, it is not uncommon to find an Arab as foreman of department head over both Jews and Arab workers.
At the "Pereg" plant for radiators and air-conditioners, about 40 per cent of the labour force is Arab, with one of them--formerly from Gaza--department manager and a member of the shop-committee. At the "Triumph" factory half of the workers are Arabs, mostly women machinists.
The children are learning each other's customs and culture in an effort to bring peace and harmony in at an early stage. The youth wing of the Israel museum provides room for a mixed class of Arab and Jewish children to learn handicrafts.
But the barriers have also been broken down on a social level as well as in work. The Gazelle restaurant, like many other enterprises in Jerusalem is owned by a partnership of Jew and Arab. Jews and Arabs eat there, despite the fact that it has been the target of Arab guerrilla grenade attacks--on the contrary, business is always boosted by such an attack. Jewish and Arab workers are beginning to invite each other into their own homes for social reasons and as they find themselves becoming part of one economic and social unit, there is every hope that the experiment in co-existence may be a permanent one.