TEL AVIV, Israel — It’s a case of giving chickpeas a chance.
Kobi Tzafrir, the owner of Hummus Bar in the Israeli village of Kfar Vitkin, is offering a 50% discount to parties that are mixed Arab and Jewish.
“Afraid of Arabs? Afraid of Jews? We do not have Arabs! But we also have no Jews … We have people!” he posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Hummus, which is made of ground up chickpeas, is a dish loved and eaten by both Jews and Arabs throughout the region.
Tzafrir said the response was immediate and overwhelming, as Jews and Arabs from policemen to emergency responders took up the offer.
“This was beautiful and exciting. They said they saw my post on Facebook and came specially,” he said.
He said he has also received support via social media, with people sending messages of support to the cafe, which is some 26 miles north of Israel’s commercial capital Tel Aviv.
The 32-year-old told NBC News he came up with the idea after he saw spiraling Israeli-Palestinian violence.“I always had Arab clients and Arab workers that are very nice and when the last round of violence started I felt very uncomfortable,” Tzafrir said. “The situation is absurd and I thought that I can bring a smile to people’s faces.”
The restaurateur’s attempt at reconciliation comes amid an increasingly bleak backdrop. At least eight Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in near-daily stabbing and shooting attacks in the last four weeks. More than 40 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in clashes over the same period.
And on Tuesday, the United Nations’ Secretary General was jetting to the Middle East on a last-minute trip in an attempt to defuse the tensions.