When will this hate end?

Uri "Buri" Jeremias is a paragon of co-existence - which makes the destruction of his restaurant even more heartbreaking


Israel is burning and my heart is sore. Aching for the needless damage and death that is raging across this tiny patch of land and for all the innocent victims whose lives are being turned upside down – again. 
A very public victim of the violence is restaurateur, Uri “Buri” Jeremias, with whom I was due to chat on Zoom next week. His restaurant, Uri Buri, in port town, Acre (aka Akko) was torched by mobs on Tuesday night. The same masked marauders attacked, his hotel — Hotel Efendi. 
Jeremias opened the restaurant, which is a prominent landmark overlooking the harbour, 32 years ago and his businesses have long been models of co-existence. His staff are a blend of Arab and Jewish Israelis. One of his Arab chefs has been with him for 18 years, another, for seven years. 
When interviewed for the JC earlier this year Jeremias said: “I don’t think of people as Jewish or Arab or Chinese or religious or non-religious. People who are good are good regardless of their colour, religion or sexual orientation. I define people by their character, their heart and the glow in their eyes. Respect is the necessary ingredient for co-existence.”
Since September, he and his team had been delivering meals to 45 – 50 elderly people of his hometown. Jews, Arabs and Christians from 70 to 95 years old — their faith made no difference to him.  When he was a child, his family brought a Lebanese Arab girl to live in their home. Her refugee parents were unable to care for her so his family took her in. “She grew up as my sister and remains a member of my family to this day.”
The man has no prejudice. He’s all about the food and sharing the love. And how is he repaid for being a decent human being? The glass front of his restaurant building has been shattered, the restaurant destroyed, and (the Jerusalem Post reported) a guest at the Hotel was badly burned trying to escape the fire. 
Why do this to a good man, who actively embraces all of his neighbours. This is mindless thuggery — the intruders who destroyed this local landmark were not repaying an oppressor. The only motive here was to wreak havoc. On a 72 year old man who has done nothing to them? Israeli newspaper reports state that he had to put the flames out himself with fire extinguishers. 
To his credit, Jeremias told the Jerusalem Post he held no grudge: “I’m not angry; anger inhibits. I did not recognise the attackers, because they were masked, but there are enough good people in Acre who have come to lend a hand.” 
But I am angry. I’m furious, and sad. When and where will this hate and destruction ever end? 

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