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"Ice cream, common across all cultures, is being heralded as a new language!" The name of the ice cream shop, "Buza," is modified from the Arabic word for ice cream, "Bouza."
The innovation here is that this is a business being run by an Arab and a Jew in a country where most people see the other side as an enemy. The two owners are proving that it's possible to cooperate and to bridge the divide. Adam Ziv, a Jewish kibbutznik from Sasa and Alaa Sawitat, an Arab Muslim from Ma'alot Tarshiha, partnered together to open Buza and to model how peace is possible through business. Their partnership has brought the communities together. They also employ people from both communities so their partnership has contributed to the flourishing of their communities.
Adam Ziv tells how he traveled through Europe and developed a taste for ice cream. He started dreaming of returning to his homeland in Israel and opening an ice cream store. He spent a couple months as an apprentice in a "gelateria" in the city of Vinci in Tuscany, Italy. Upon his return to Israel, Adam shared his dream with his long time friend Alaa Sawitat and together they decided to open an ice cream business pairing their passion for ice cream and their passion for peace. In our interview, Adam shared that their business has now grown to five shops, a visitor center, and a small factory.
The collaboration between Adam Ziv and Alaa Sawitat has crossed difficult cultural and religious boundaries.
Adam says, "If we use the business as a bridge accepted by everybody, I believe we could have a different reality, like the Buza partnership, where everyone works on the same goal - and it is easy to communicate if everyone has the same goal."
Their contribution to the peace dialogue is to state emphatically that peace is possible when there is a common goal. Buza is a model for both communities in the Western Galil city, Maalot Tarshicha, where Jews and Arabs live side-by-side but do not always form alliances or friendships. They are proving that it is possible to build peace through commerce.
Buza employs many people in the region regardless of their background.
Adam Ziv says the most surprising result of the business was "the fact that when you do something together and you have the same interest it becomes really easy to communicate and get along."
Adam Ziv and his partner Alaa Sawitat opened their first ice cream shop in an area where there was no ice cream. In four years they have expanded their business to five stores, a visitor center where people can see how the ice cream is made, and a small factory.
In the making of the ice cream, Adam Ziv uses local produce from Galilee. Only a few ingredients are imported from Italy.
Adam says, "Many groups of people come to Buza, foreigners from as far as China, police officers, soldiers, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and so on, everyone gets along. Just as many different people visit Buza and enjoy the fine ice cream, this business employs a variety of ethnic groups with different religious orientations. The result is the same, everyone gets along."
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Adam Ziv, Owner
Mix the love of ice cream with dreams of collaboration and partnership and Buza is born.