Pini Siluk

Sweet Encounter

How did a Druze beekeeper from Peki’in and a religious Jewish educator from Akko end up starting an energy-bar business? Easy: His honey, her recipe, and one innovative community center.

A-CAT, the of Akko Center for Arts and Technology, offers career-training and mentoring workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs in the diverse city it calls home. Lesson number one: A successful business partnership can overcome any religious, cultural, or national differences. And as beekeeper Jessan Salah and educator Yafit Peretz discovered, it can also lead to an unexpected friendship.

“As someone who lives in Akko, I know that it’s a city that has really good relations between its various populations”, says Yafit. “I’m part of a home-cooking initiative here in the city, with both Jewish and Arab members. When we make food together, we bring our worlds together, and we knock all the barriers down. The same thing happened with Jessan: He stole my heart.” At the end of the day, she insists, “We’re all equal, we’re all just human beings, and we all want to live in peace.”

Jessan describes how his partnership with Yafit is characterized by fun and endless laughter, a partnership as sweet as the honey he grows. “She’s a religious Jew and I’m a young Druze. But when we’re together, we forget all that. She’s like an aunt to me. She’s family.”