A story about peace and co-existence in Israel that Harriet Sherwood won’t report

One of the problems with foreign correspondents in Israel is that they are, well…foreign. They don’t speak or read the local languages and are therefore dependent upon getting the news they pass on to their readers from often partisan sources with specific agendas. They therefore usually miss the little stories of everyday life which are important in presenting a realistic view of the entire tapestry of life here.

This is one such story – as reported in a local edition of the Hebrew newspaper Ma’ariv.

Taibeh Town Council is proud to present: Gan Yavne Square

A tribute to co-existence: after sanitation workers from the Gan Yavne regional council helped clean up the streets of Taibeh, it was decided in the Arab town to name the central square there after the Jewish town.

Staff from the local municipality in Gan Yavne recently answered the request of Taibeh Council and arrived to clean up various parts of the town. But they did not imagine that their little town would receive a special tribute from the Arab town: in Taibeh it was decided to change the name of the town’s central square and from now on to call it “Gan Yavne Square”.


Last Thursday Avi Mantsur, who manages the sanitation department in Gan Yavne, went with five of his maintenance and gardening workers to Taibeh. The garbage contractor in the town donated his street-sweeping machine and the team began to clean up the major roads of the Arab town.

As a result of the intensive work, the neglected town square changed its appearance. As a gesture of thanks for the help offered by the local council in Gan Yavne, the general manager of Taibeh Council Sami Talawi decided to call the square after the small town.

“This is an act of solidarity between local councils” said the head of Gan Yavne Council Aharon Dror yesterday (Monday). “The workers were not anxious at all, there was a great reception and it was very nice”.

Dror added “The aim was to bring hearts closer; especially at this time that is important to us all. In the end, we are all citizens of Israel”.

Manager of the department for town improvement in Taibeh Council, Taysir Masarwa, also commented on the special initiative saying “We enjoyed working together. They even said at the end that they would like to come here again. The help they gave us gives a feeling of partnership between the towns. It is rare that people just come and help like that, we need to tell them well done”.

Of course a story like this one will never find its way onto the pages of CiF even though it is right under Harriet Sherwood’s nose. The simple realities of daily co-existence just don’t fit the narrative of ‘the world’s leading liberal voice’.

Categories: Guardian

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6 replies »

  1. Great story, and a pity it almost certainly won’t make its way to the Guardian. Perhaps they could print the Hebrew version alongside an Arabic translation since now so much of their blog seems to be in Arabic.

  2. It’s a nice story but why is it that so many Israeli-Arab towns/villages are so dirty and garbage-strewn? Why did Taibeh have to wait for their Israeli friends to come in and clean it up? It’s not rocket science. Just a few brooms and rubbish bags.

  3. Yep, I’ve said till I’ve bored people silly, it’s all about personal contact which becomes friendship which … And RoMo, let me tell you that there’s many an Israeli ‘Jewish’ town which is shamefully unkempt. Even Karmiel, where I live, is bestrewn with rubbish and feral animal droppings despite the best efforts of the municipality and I reckon that Karmiel is by far the prettiest tow in the north. No exceptions allowed!

  4. What a lovely story. Of course the Guardian cannot report it. Minds would explode and that would make a terrible mess all over the newsroom. They would need the Gan Yavne crew to clean it up! 🙂

  5. Not hope, Pretzelberg, a continuation of a relationship that doesn’t see the light of day, not reported by Israeli newspapers because it is too mundane and certainly not by the Guardian & MSM because someone might realise that Israel is a very pleasant place to live in.