b'Featured Impact StoryCreating a Shared Society in Israel Requires Building FencesIt was one of the most brutal escalations of violence Ive witnessed, said Barak Loozon, the Federations Israel Office Director.In Israel this past May, mobs roamed the streets in mixed cities such as Haifa, Jaffa, Akko, and Lod, and Jews and Arabs were afraid to leave their homes. Loozon said, People didnt want to even go outside because their next-door neighbors were directing the mobs outside their windows, shouting things like: Hes Jewish! Burn his car! Amid all this violence, rockets were being fired from Gaza into the same neighborhoods. So, when the missiles came in, those same Jews and Arabs took cover in theIt was actually a platform for them to rebuild exact same shelters, trust. Trust was really one thing that got lost.Not only trust in each other, but also trust in That was the setting in which Loozon, thethe police and trust in the state and in the Federation, and our partners renewed theirgovernment.About 150 people came and it commitment to continue their efforts to fosterwas really, really something to see, said a society in which Jews and Arabs can coexistLoozon. The participants showed commitment peacefully.To be honest, even talking aboutto their shared mission of peaceful coexistence the common good and social cohesion at thatand friendship. time was problematic and extremely challenging, Loozon said. But they did. InThats where real hope came in, which is fact, they did a whole lot more than talking.predicated on an understanding that living together in Israel requires work. It requires After the flames went down a little bit, inboth recognizing the others pain while being June we invited our partner organizations tocommitted to a shared future. And it requires come together, initially just to get a chance toacknowledgment of other cultures and breathe, said Loozon. Despite the tension,identities as an asset and form of knowledge.COVID-19, and heated elections, their partnersin peace came: Jews and Arabs, NGOs,With building a wall, theres no commitment, community leaders, and virtually anyoneno shared space, no nothing, said Loozon. interested in a shared society. And the eventBut the beauty of a fence is that it can was extraordinary.provide security to your family while allowing you to see beyond, and to come and go, and to reach out to others. 17'