Friday, April 12, 2013

A "sulcha" in Kfar Kassem

As a general rule this blog isn't active over weekends (Friday-Saturday in Israel). Sometimes we make exceptions, however. Today's exception starts with this news item which is up on Y-net today (Y-net being Israel's most popular news site). The item relates a recent event which took place in the Israeli-Arab town of Kfar Kassem. In 2006, one of the men in the town shot his daughter-in-law, which set off a feud between the two families. Now, the mayor, the police, and the family leaders have hammered out a reconciliation agreement, in which the woman's children have been compensated with money and property, and the agreement was sealed with a feast of reconciliation - sulcha - which hundreds of people participated in.

Reading this brought to mind our recent publication of more than 100 documents about Israel's first two decades (here's the Hebrew publication, and here's the Y-net report about it). In the publication, we published four letters about the massacre by IDF troops of 49 Arab civilians of Kfar Kassem, which happened in October 1956, against the backdrop of the Sinai War. The final letter in the correspondence is from the mayor of Petach Tikva (which is near Kfar Kassem) to Ben Gurion, summarizing the work of a committee of five notables, two Arabs and three Jews, who had been tasked with agreeing on restitution payments to the families of the victims. Although the case was worse than the feud of 2006-2012 in its magnitude and the fact that the perpetrators were soldiers in uniform, they were both resolved using the same mechanisms: a police investigation, a trial with convictions, then a negotiation about restitution, and finally a sulcha ceremony.

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