Humus bar (illustration)
Humus bar (illustration)Nati Shohat/Flash 90

(AFP) Call it a pea-sized gesture, but an Israeli owner of a hummus restaurant cooked it up anyway.

Kobi Tzafrir, an Israeli Jew who runs the Hummus Bar in Kfar Vitkin near the Mediterranean coast, said he was offering 50 percent off for any table where Jews and Arabs sit together.  

It is a bid to encourage co-existence even in the most difficult times, with a wave of violence and unrest since the start of the month having raised fears of a full-scale Palestinian terrorist campaign.

Many Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews weary from violence would likely look upon the effort with a great deal of scepticism.

But Tzafrir said: "I heard and saw many cruel and harsh things from both Arabs and Jews in these difficult circumstances, and I saw the stress and tension. But I believe that we must live together."

He said a number of groups had already taken advantage of the deal but did not give a number.  

At least one other similar effort has occurred.  

In the old city of Akko (Acre) in northern Israel, the owners of the Al Marsa restaurant, Moussa Alaa and Marwan Sawaed, invited the owners of nearby Jewish restaurants to join them for dinner.

"Akko is a mixed city and the situation in the country affects the Arabs and Jews," Sawaed told AFP.

When violence starts, "the Arabs go with the Arabs and the Jews go with the Jews and this affects Acre."

"We must live together for the solution. Sitting around a table eating and talking in a civilized manner is the best way to live a common life."  

Arab Israelis make up around 17.5 percent of the population of Israel.