(Photo: Juliana Hashoul)

(Photo: Juliana Hashoul)

By Abigail Klein Leichman - January 5, 2016

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

Can Jews, Muslims and Christians live side by side peacefully in Israel? It’s a question many people ask themselves.

But they can, and they do, in cities such as Haifa and in less well-known Lod, whose slogan is “A mosaic of cultures.”

The municipality is working hard to raise the profile of this mostly working-class city of 77,500. It recently invited a group of journalists and diplomats to help spread the message that coexistence is alive and well in Israel — even in the climate of heightened fear and mistrust engendered by stabbing and shooting attacks by Arabs in various parts of the country lately.

“In the past few months, as a Jew I have not felt any tension here, and most of the people I speak with agree that regardless of whether they are Jews, Christians or Muslims, people here feel very, very safe,” said Deputy Mayor Aviv Wasserman, a graduate of the London School of Economics and a major force in the turnaround of Lod from hardscrabble to hopeful in the past seven years. Read More