One of the participants in the first International Regional Cooperation Conference held in Tel Aviv this week was Efrat mayor Oded Ravivi.

Ravivi told Arutz Sheva that his presence as a Jewish resident of Judea and Samaria at a conference aimed at finding ways to cooperate with Arabs is not at all out of the ordinary.

“Basically, the whole settlement movement, the whole establishment of Jews living in Judea and Samaria was based on relations with the neighbors,” he said. “If it wasn’t for outsiders who try to come and interfere we could have stayed living there one next to the other peacefully.”

Ravivi said that in Efrat there is some cooperation with the neighboring Arabs, explaining that Efrat was established 30 years ago out of the belief that Jews do not want to live with a fence bordering their community.

“Those relationships with our neighbors have managed to maintain themselves and we still don’t need a fence and we still manage to live peacefully one next to the other,” Ravivi said.

“I think it’s already obvious to everybody that separation [between Jews and Arabs] won’t lead to any fruitful results,” he added. “The Palestinians can’t maintain themselves without commercial and financial connections with the State of Israel and there needs to be some mechanism where we can live one next to the other peacefully.”