Groundwork: The Mixed Cities Edition
As war broke out between Israel and Gaza this past May fueled by clashes in Jerusalem, some of the worst inter-ethnic fighting in Israel’s history erupted between its own citizens. The violence showed that even in mixed cities, where people often talk of coexistence, there are strong ethnic divides. So in this mini-series we talk with activists who work in these mixed cities to find out what it’s actually like on the ground, what are the underlying tensions, and what needs to happen to bring change. Available wherever you listen to your podcasts.
HOW TO LISTEN
Listen to Groundwork on your preferred podcasting app.
Jerusalem is a perennial flashpoint for the broader Israel-Palestinian conflict. This spring’s tensions ramped up again during Ramadan, around Palestinian access to the Damascus Gate area of the Old City and the planned eviction of a group of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah. In this first of a three-part series on mixed cities, we talk to two Jerusalem activists, Nivine Sandouka, an expert in the field of program development, peacebuilding, and gender, and Suf Patishi, a lawyer and activist with Standing Together, to better understand what happened in Jerusalem during the recent surge of violence, their work bringing activists together in the city, and what needs to happen next.
The second episode on mixed cities is about Lod, also known as Lud or Lydd. It’s a working class city about 20 minutes from Tel Aviv, located close to Ben Gurion airport – Israel’s main international airport. In May, as war broke out between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Lod became the epicenter of the worst inter-ethnic fighting between Israel’s own citizens since 1948. There were shootings in the streets, neighbors attacking one another, lynching, cars and homes burned. A state of emergency was declared. Two men were killed, one Jewish, the other a Palestinian citizen of Israel. Listen in for a conversation with Rula Daood of Standing Together and Dror Rubin, a community organizer. Both activists in the city see the violence as a wake-up call to change Lod.
The final episode on mixed cities is about Haifa. This port city is Israel’s third-largest city and likes to bill itself – though not without critique – as a place of more successful integration among its Jewish and Palestinian residents than in other parts of the country. During the war in May, there were clashes between the police and Palestinian protesters, alongside arson attacks, and attacks on stores. Many stood up to protest the violence, including longtime Haifa residents and activists, Jafar Farah and Merav Ben-Nun. Jafar is a civil rights campaigner who founded and directs Mossawa, a Haifa-based organization that promotes equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel. Merav is an expert in peace education and a founder of the bi-lingual Arabic and Hebrew Hand-in-Hand School in Haifa and a civil rights activist.