In Jaffa, a café where dialogue – in Arabic, Hebrew or English – is on the menu.
There are lots of things you can do in front of a cup of coffee. Read, watch people walking by, and dialoguing with – or creating dialogue between – two different cultures that are often in conflict.
With this idea in mind, Michel El Rab opened the Yafa café in Jaffa, Israel. It’s a bookstore/café/bistrot whose main objective is to encourage communication between Israeli and Palestinian culture.
Located at 33 Yehuda Marguza, Michel serves traditional Middle Eastern dishes (from rice and vegetables to chicken kebabs, from falafel to lentils, as well as shakshulka and baklava) to a diverse clientele. «I’m Christian and this isn’t a kosher place», he explains. «At my tables, Muslims and Jews stuff themselves in the same way».
And this idea earned him the Isaela Goldbum peace prize in 2008, which was awarded to him by the Israeli president, Shimon Peres.
While eating at Yafa, you can read a book in English, Hebrew or Arabic; you can admire the art exhibition that changes every month, or even participate in either Arabic or Hebrew lessons that the café organizes. What’s important is getting ready to talk.