Cafe Yafa: An Arab Man, an Israeli Jewish Woman — Building Peace Through Books and Coffee

Building Peace with books and coffee

In south suburban Tel Aviv, an oasis of peace in ancient Joppa.

 A love of books and a desire for peace for Palestinians and Israelis brought together an unlikely partnership  in Israel:  Cafe Yafa Books and Coffee.  A Palestinian Arab man, Michel El-Rahab, had a dream of opening a bookstore to help promote an Arab reading culture.  But he expanded his vision when he partnered with an Israeli Jewish woman and opened a shop where peace might flourish.

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“We want to have peace in this world,” Michel says. “This is a place where people like peace.”

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The blog, Choosing to See, shares the hopeful story of person-to-person peacemaking in its recent posting entitled, “Coffee, books, and discussions: Yafa Cafe sets the stage for co-existence.”  The partners chose Jaffa — known as Joppa in antiquity — as the site for the experiment.  Jaffa (“Yafa” in Arabic) is now a south suburban town of the Israeli coastal city, Tel Aviv.

Co-owner Michel El-Rahab told ChoosingToSee, that he and his partner had the same idea: “to make a place full of books with food.”  Now, after eight years in business, El-Rahab observes:

“Many people they come from outside of the country and inside. They come here, groups, and speak…Many people come, many Jewish people come, and they want to speak with Arabs, they want to know the Palestinian people. They want to know how the Palestinian people think, says Michel. He continues to say how the Arab people have the same curiosity for the Jewish Israelis. “They sit together and they eat together. We have many groups, Palestinian and Jewish groups, so they come here and they speak together. Many times they make another meeting and another meeting.”

To learn more about Yafa Coffee House, visit: http://www.yafabook.co.il/