Jun. 14, 2019
- Jewish-Arab Relations in the Jordan Valley – Alan Rosenbaum
David Elhaiini heads the Jordan Valley Regional Council, comprised of 21 Jewish communities, whose growth rate is an annual 6%, among the highest in the country. Elhaiini reports excellent relations between the Jewish communities and their Arab neighbors. “The only source of income for the Arab population in the Jordan Valley is the Jewish settlements,” he explains. “We employ over 6,000 Palestinians each day, and in the peak periods – June, July and September – the number reaches as much as 12,000.” Salaries paid by Jewish industries are three times higher than those from other local sources.
“We live together. When you have a worker who has worked together with you for years, you have a relationship. You become his friend. They come to our weddings, and we attend theirs….When I worked in agriculture, my wife would tell me that I spend more time with Yusuf, my field manager, than I do with her. We would be together from 5 a.m. until 4 p.m. When you work together, sit together and eat together, you create relationships.”
He points out that the Jewish farmers share their agricultural expertise with their Palestinian neighbors. “We teach them the best ways of growing dates. They ask questions and work with us. Our instructors visit them unofficially, because the PA does not want any connection.” Elhaiini says that the quality of life for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley has improved dramatically. “You can see it in the number of their children who attend university. Their profits and benefits have increased.”
“We want to transform these good relations into more concrete areas, but the Palestinian Authority is preventing us from doing anything, and their BDS supporters don’t understand that they work to prevent peaceful relations.” (Jerusalem Post)