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4:16 AM Mon, Nov. 19th

Area Jews ponder violence in Israeli as they observe holiest day of the year

The small Jewish community of Kingman observed the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, Monday amid continuing violence between Arabs and Jews in Israel.

The violence in Israel - which has claimed more than 80 lives - and the Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole were much on the minds of about 20 people who attended an afternoon discussion period presided over by Harry A.

Roth, a retired rabbi from Los Angeles.

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement.

Roth said the Arabs could have created a Palestinian homeland in 1947 by agreeing to the United Nations partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

Arab armies invaded Israel after the Jewish state declared its independence in 1948, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled to nearby Arab countries, according to historians.

But while he criticized the Arabs, Roth said the peace process is the only option because otherwise Arabs and Israelis will continue to kill each other.

"There will be a peace agreement because there is no alternative," Roth said.

"We cannot go on fighting and killing each other.

We have to learn how to live with each other.

Please, God, that day will come."

Israeli native Ellie Mallory, who lives in the Hualapai Mountains, said before the discussion that she spoke with two of her brothers in Israel on Friday after watching television accounts of the unrest.

One brother told her that the military stationed him near Gaza close to the spot where a 12-year-old Palestinian boy died after being shot.

"The (Arab) protesters were coming up to throw rocks at (the soldiers)," Mallory said.

"If they knew there would be any children, they would not have shot (their weapons)."

Like Mallory, Kingman resident Sam Shalaby, an Israeli Arab who was born in Haifa, Israel, said he has been following news accounts of the strife.

"It's really hard to see what's going on and watch it on TV when you have family over there," said Shalaby, who is Roman Catholic and did not attend the service.

"You worry about their safety."

He said he supports the peace process and called for both sides to resolve their differences.

"Each side has to give a little bit," Shalaby said.

"You've got the parties that are not interested in the peace talks, and they instigate the riots.

It always takes two sides.

We both have to realize that the Arabs and the Jews are living there and we have to deal with each other."

Roth referred to decades of mistrust between the Arabs and Israelis, a relationship which is slowly thawing since the peace process began after the Gulf War.

The Palestinians have raised their children to hate Israel, Roth said.

"In the Arab world, there is a tremendous amount of animosity toward Israel," he said.

Animosities he said festered in Palestinian refugee camps.

"It is not an easily solved problem," said Kingman developer George Ripps, a congregation member who described himself as being "very pro-Israel." The Arabs have strong roots in Palestine, he said.

Ripps said he thinks the Palestinians are stirring things up during the Jewish High Holy Days and characterized Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as being "unreasonable."

One member, who asked that her name not be used because she has encountered Nazi graffiti in a bathroom in Meadview, called for greater dialogue in the Kingman area between Jews and the small Arab community.

"We should have an Arab-Jewish meeting in Kingman," she said.

"The Arabs I've met (here) are fine with me being Jewish."