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Restaurant in Israel Offers Discount to Jewish and Arab Diners Who Eat Together

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The 50 percent discount is meant to bring people together.

Humus Bar/Facebook

Can hummus help foster chickpeace in the Middle East? One restaurant in Israel hopes so. According to the Times of Israel, Humus Bar in the city of Netanya (about 62 miles northwest of Jerusalem) launched a deal last week offering a 50 percent discount on each plate of hummus ordered by tables of both Jewish and Arab customers dining together. The restaurant notes in a Facebook post (translated), "Scared of Arabs? Scared of Jews? By us we don't have Arabs! But we also don't have Jews... By us we've got human beings!"

מפחדים מערבים? מפחדים מיהודים? אצלנו אין ערבים! אבל אין גם יהודים... אצלנו יש בני אדם! וחומוס ערבי אמיתי ומעולה!...

Posted by ‎חומוס בר - Humus Bar‎ on Monday, 12 October 2015

Kobe Tzafrir, a manager at the restaurant, tells the paper that since the promotion launched last week, it has "been a success." The ad went up on October 13 and the restaurant has consistently served "several tables" of Jews and Arabs daily ever since. Tzafrir adds that the idea "has been well received by Arabs and Jews alike."

The restaurant created the promotion in response to "growing intolerance by both Arab and Israeli extremists." Tzafrir explains to Al Jazeera that "he wanted to show that there are a lot of Arabs and Jews who are not taking part in the violent events reported in the media." He adds that he also wanted to bring people together.

Humus Cafe isn't the only restaurant that seeks to raise awareness through food. A number of "conflict restaurants" around the world are also working towards a similar cause. In Pittsburgh, Conflict Kitchen serves food from countries that America is in conflict with, such as North Korea and Iran. The restaurant also offers "artistic performances and educational outreach programs." And in London, peace-building charity International Alert held a month-long pop-up in an underground skate park that brought a new chef in each week to highlight food and problems from regions around the world including Syria and its immigrant crisis and Columbia and its civil war.

There are television shows that aim to shed light on conflicts through food as well. On Travel Channel's show Breaking Borders, chef Michael Voltaggio and Peabody Award-winning correspondent Mariana van Zeller traveled around the world and gathered "people from all sides of the conflict [for] a delicious meal and [to] talk about the issues that divide them." On one episode, Voltaggio cooked dishes inspired by both Israeli cuisine and Arabic food for a table of Arabs and Jews. The groups then discussed their historical conflict over a peaceful, mindful meal.

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