Hummus Restaurant Offers 50 Percent Discount for Jews and Arabs Eating Together

An Israeli restaurant is harnessing the power of the chickpea to make a unique attempt to bring peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The owner of Hummus Bar in the town of Kfar Vitkin is offering a 50 percent discount on hummus to tables seating both Arab and Jewish diners.

Kobi Tzafrir, who owns the restaurant near the coastal city of Netanya, issued the offer in a Hebrew-language Facebook post on October 13. He wrote that the restaurant only serves "human beings" and did not discriminate against Jews or Arabs.

The post read: "With us we don't have Arabs! But we also don't have Jews... With us we've got human beings! Real excellent Arab hummus! Excellent Jewish falafel!"

Tzafrir's offer is a light-hearted gesture to incentivize coexistence between Arabs and Jews in Israel or the Palestinian territories at a time when tensions are at their highest since last summer's seven-week Gaza conflict.

Eight Israelis have been killed in shooting and stabbing attacks committed by Palestinians and at least 42 Palestinians, of whom a number were attackers, have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces. Tensions have escalated over perceived Israeli violations of the status quo at the Jerusalem holy site known as the Temple Mount to Jews and Al-Haram al-Sharif to Muslims.

The restaurant's Facebook post, which has now been shared more than a thousand times, also offered "a free refill for every serving of hummus, whether you're Arab, Jewish, Christian, Indian, etc."

Tzafrir tells Newsweek by phone that he made the offer to show another side to relations between Arabs and Jews.

"It started because of the situation," Tzafrir says. "I hear about what everybody hears in the situation and I think this has gotten out of proportion. All of the bad things that you hear."

He adds: "I want to tell the world that the situation is not like that and that it is not like this in all of Israel. Maybe in Jerusalem and other places, you can see more of the tension, but the rest of Israel lives in peace and harmony. The Jewish and the Arabs and everybody here."

Tzafrir told The Times of Israel that he had served a number of Jewish-Arab tables every day since the offer was posted on Facebook. He added that the gesture was also made to bring people together and to respond to intolerance from extreme sections of Arabs and Jews within the country. Arab Israelis make up 20 percent of Israel's population.