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More Arab-owned businesses opened on that street in the years since, with signs welcoming all people in Arabic, English and sometimes Hebrew.
“This is the new Palestinian society we are aiming for.”HAIFA, Israel — At Elika, a bar in the Hadar neighborhood of this hilly port city, a 30-something psychodramatist rolled a cigarette and sipped coffee with her father, a well-known actor in Israel. But their public life in Haifa is a striking secular counterpoint to the conservatism of many of Israel’s Arab communities, where sex before marriage is taboo, and single men and women rarely date and tend to marry at relatively young ages, in matches often arranged by their mothers.
The bartender poured tall beers for two women who wandered in for an afternoon pint. Haifa’s relative liberalism is a product of its unique, cosmopolitan tradition.
Nearby, a 22-year-old woman with a partly shaved head and colorful tattoos sat alone, working on her laptop. It is easy for young, single people to get out in this city, which is built on a steep coastal hill, with Jews tending to live on its heights and Arabs by the sea.
Back up the road at the Elika bar, Samer Asakleh was hanging out with a co-worker.
A folksy Arab song about smoking marijuana played from the speakers, and posters tacked to the wall advertised a concert featuring an Arab ska band, Toot Ard.“The people in Haifa, especially in these cafes, they are making revolutions,” said Mr. He moved here from his home village of Mughar, in Galilee, to study management and was initially surprised by the open, seemingly libertine attitudes and social mores of people he met.