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Israeli Hummus Cafe Cuts Bill In Half For Jews And Arabs Who Break Bread Together


Not so long ago, a man I know offered some advice about Israel. Israel, he argued, is a country not a conflict. His point was that a lot goes on in the lives of millions of people there. There's more than confrontation, he said, between Israelis and Palestinians. Of course, it's very, very hard to see that in moments like this, when Jerusalem and other places suffer through the intimate violence of knife attacks and intense security.


Kobi Tzafrir wishes he could show something else, which is why his restaurant, the Hummus Bar, is offering 50 percent off to Jews and Arabs who share a table.

KOBI TZAFRIR: I want to bring people together and to show other side of Israel.

GREENE: Tzafrir says that in many places, like his coastal town an hour from Jerusalem, things are less tense.

TZAFRIR: Maybe in Jerusalem there is more tension. But in all over Israel, the situation is pretty much the same. Jewish and Arabs are friends, and walk together and eat together.

INSKEEP: And so to counter images of violence, he posted his offer on Facebook.

GREENE: It read, quote, "Scared of Arabs? Scared of Jews? We don't have Arabs. We don't have Jews. We have human beings." That post quickly caught fire.

TZAFRIR: I get a lot of private message from people from Israel and from all over the world. Everybody's saying that they want to come to visit me. The most thing that they want to do is to support the idea. They say they very much connected to what I said, that we are all human beings. And you don't - you don't need to define us as Jewish and Arabs.

GREENE: Business has increased. But Tzafrir says it is hard to keep up with all phone calls he's getting.

TZAFRIR: I almost can't deal with it by myself now because I get calls from media around the world. But I don't hear any complaints.

GREENE: And by all accounts, neither do the customers. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.