Israel: Latest achievements of the religious initiative
October 3, 2012
Since 2004, Base for Discussion (B4D), the Interpeace programme in Israel, has been working with previously excluded, yet influential, sectors of Israeli society. B4D engages them in dialogue and enables participants to reflect on the range of opinions that could be solutions to the conflict in the region. The programme is currently engaging with the following groups: the Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel, the traditional religious population and the Russian speaking population.
Over the course of the next year the initiative aims to reach out to even more groups of Israeli society such as government representatives, the Palestinian religious leadership and representatives of the Arab League, to launch a “Religious Peace Initiative”.
The religious lens
One of the achievements of B4D’s project with the traditional religious population is the establishment of a “Committee of Rabbis.” The graduates of B4D’s 18-month educational programme decided to establish the Committee, in partnership with the Van-Leer Institute in Jerusalem, to share what they have learned with their own communities. Encouraging broad-based dialogue among rabbinical leaders will bring change to their communities.
Showing support across religious boundaries
Following the religious slander at the Latrun Monastery, the “Committee of Rabbis” reached out to the members of the community there. The rabbis visited the monastery and offered their support.
This incident highlighted the need for an inclusive strategy and might have escalated had the “Committee of Rabbis” not promptly organized a meeting. This kind of work is essential to improve understanding and promote an environment in which as many different groups as possible can solve conflictual situations through discussion.