05.12.2011 09.Kislev. 5772
The Ayam al-Oud Festival in Shfaram highlighted the burgeoning cultural world of Palestinian Israelis.
"Go straight, then turn right at the first street after the third traffic circle," are the kind of instructions given to a visitor to Shfaram trying to get around the city center. Traffic circles are scattered throughout this city: They are not piazzas in the Italian sense nor are they the traffic circles typical of suburbs, banal alternatives to traffic lights intended to blur the urbanism and instill a tranquil, pastoral aura. No, each of the circles of Shfaram – Shefar-'Amr, in Arabic – has its unique feel. They are an urban celebration on their own, and while traveling up and down the hills on which the city is built, each encounter with them provides a different kind of surprise.
At the end of that street, the first one after the third roundabout, is Shfaram's municipal Payis Center, lit up like a monument. How strange that name is in an Arab city! The very use of a the Hebrew equivalent of the letter "p," a sound which does not exist in Arabic, immediately makes it clear who is in control here and who has the power to provide or not provide the local population with communal buildings – not to mention the random acronyms and uncertainty inherent in the name "Payis," which means one big lottery….