This year’s Cycling for Peace group bike ride had a star celebrity – Gilad Shalit – and was joined by a record number of Arab Israeli citizens.
Five years ago, the inaugural Cycling for Peace group bike ride started by the municipality of Acre (Acco) was dedicated to then-captive soldier Gilad Shalit. This year, organizers were excited to have Shalit leading the pack of about 500 cyclists on a 36-kilometer ride from the Shalit home to the multicultural seaside town of Acre, in northern Israel.
While Jews and Arabs live in relative harmony in mixed cities like Jaffo next to Tel Aviv, and Acre in the north, there are few opportunities to engage in face-to-face recreation and camaraderie. The two populations interact in the marketplace but beyond that they tend to stick to their own sides.