220 attend 2017 Multifaith Ramadan Peace Dinner in Ilut

Sheikh Khaled Abu Ras hosted the 14th annual Abrahamic Reunion multi-faith Ramadan Iftar meal and gathering at his home in the village of Ilut, near Nazareth, on June 8th.  220 people gathered to celebrate the event, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Druze, Israelis and Palestinians.   

In addition to Ilut residents such as local high school principals and teachers, guests included Israeli Jewish professors from the “Way of Abraham” Jewish-Sufi study group and  members of the “Niggun Halev” congregation.  Two buses from Jerusalem brought Israeli Jews and Palestinians from East Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, Husan, Jericho and Nablus. Other Israeli Jews came from the Golan, Galilee, Tel Aviv, Otniel and Netivot.

Last year’s Iftar host, Ibtisam Mahameed brought a group from Faradis, Druze woman leader Siham Halabi came with a group of Druze women.


AR’s Interfaith Iftar was covered by the Christian Media Center, a beautiful 3-Minute video. Available also in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian

The day began with a panel of religious peace leaders addressing the meaning of fasting in their traditions. Sheikh Talat Abu Ras, Imam of the ‘Al-Iman’ mosque opened with chanting verses from the Quran about the commandment to fast during the month of Ramadan.

Abed Salaam Manasra, spoke about 3 levels of meaning for the fasting:  a) refraining consuming from food and water during the day,  b) refraining from any indecent actions, and c) staying in constant remembrance of G-d to reach a state of being in G-d’s presence.

Anglican Father Nael Abu Rahmoun honored the Muslims for fasting,  comparing his own experience as a Christian: “Why do we fast? G-d doesn’t need our fast, we need it to educate our bodies and souls… to welcome the presence of G-d in our lives.”

Druze Sheikh Hussein Abu Rukkun from Isafiya blessed the Muslims during the month of Ramadan “ a month of joy, prayer, gatherings, charity.”

Rabbanit Hadassah Froman shared this tale.  Once there was a field of wheat that belonged to two brothers, each brother tried secretly give his portion to the other. The spot where they met middle of the night… is where the Holy Temple, and Haram as-Sharif was built. “We are those 2 brothers,  if each can give to the other, together we’ll make the world a holier place.”

Rabbi Yakov Drori from Tsfat: There are 2 kinds of days, work days, when we each do our separate thing, and holy days, when by refraining from certain actions for holiness, like on Shabbat, for Jews, and fasting on Ramadan, for Muslims…we are united. Let us …“take this feeling of being together….and with G-d, into the rest of the year.”

We then gathered for a group photo, religious leaders and coordinators.  We needed to take a few photos, more leaders kept showing up to join in.

We all went upstairs to sit at long rows of tables and at 7:49 exactly, broke bread and shared the Iftar meal.   A table with kosher portions was set up for the religious Jews.

Over the meal, Rabbi Yakov Nagen spoke of our Iftar 2 years ago:  “While the Muslim fast ended earlier, the Jewish fast ended 20 minutes later… the Muslims insisted on waiting to eat until the Jews broke their fast.”

We broadcast the event on Facebook Live, where Daniel Aqleh, Evangelical minister from Bethlehem shared: “we came to gather forces… for prayer and justice and peace in the Land. May God’s mercy reign and grace prevail over all Israel and Palestine”.

We enjoyed a performance by Indian-American hip-hop artist Nimo Patel, with these lyrics:  “spreading kindness for every living soul..when all is said and done, kindness is all we can leave behind..” 

After the meal Muslims and Jews went to pray their evening prayers side by side.

Sheikh Hilmi Hamed, of the Qadiri Sufis opened the closing prayer circle with Sufi chanting in Arabic.

Druze leader Sheikh Jamal Khatib from Beit Jann shared:  ‘By connecting hearts today, we  help bring the prophecy of the Book of Isaiah to fruition: “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks”. Sheikh Khatib praised host Sheikh Khaled Abu Ras, bestowing and wrapping him with an honorific wool robe.

Muslim woman peace leader, Mrs. Najah Kabaha offered a closing prayer: “may there be peace in the world, and peace in the Holy Land, may there be an end to all bloodshed”.

Closing words we offered by ultra-Orthodox woman peace leader Rebecca Abrahamson.

The gathering went on for hours…no one wanted to leave the positive feeling of Abrahamic unity.

Shalom, Salaam,

Rodef Shalom Eliyahu McLean, and Sheikh Khaled Abu Ras,

Co-Executive directors of the Abrahamic Reunion in Israel

Thanks to the Abrahamic Reunion global office and for all who offered support to make this special event happen.




Event Photos On the Abrahamic Reunion Flikr Account Click Here  https://www.flickr.com/gp/jerusalem_peacemakers/S38Z6o


Article on Israel21c.org featuring the AR’s Ramadan Dinner:

Multi-faith Ramadan peace dinner held in Israel

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London Interfaith Iftar with Mayor Sadiq Khan, HE Cardinal Nichols, & Chief Rabbi of the UK

AR Invited to London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Interfaith Iftar Dinner with H.E. Cardinal Nichols, Chief Rabbi of the UK Mirvis

Last Tuesday was one of the rare early summer evenings in London that seem to last forever.  I could not think of a better way to spend it than to go with Sheik Ghassan Manasra to an event that was in its own way as brilliant as the evening.  We had been invited as special guests to an interfaith Iftar event hosted by His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols at the Catholic Archbishop’s House. The evening was sponsored by the Naz Legacy Foundation along with the Chief Rabbi of the UK Ephraim Mirvis and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

We arrived just in time for the introduction of Sadiq Khan, whose remarks were funny, topical and inspiring.  They were were particularly aimed at the 100 young people (aged 18-30 years old, the average age was 23!), representing all 32 boroughs of London, from all faiths and none.  After the remarks, the young people broke up into groups to discuss ‘how they best thought they could bring faith and non-faith communities together in London for the betterment of all our communities.’  This was a great chance for us to mingle and listen to the many yet harmonious voices of young Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Bahias, Buddhists, Sikhs, and those of no particular faith.

Sheik Ghassan gently introduced the Abrahamic Reunion to everyone he met, and the reception was always enthusiastic.  I also went from table to table to listen and talk about the AR.  My favorite reaction was from a young woman who said:

“What a wonderful idea.  Too often religion is blamed for conflict, and here is an example of true religion bringing peace.”

The setting was beautiful, the throne room of the Edwardian residence of the Catholic Archdiocese. Being in that setting reminded me of my Catholic upbringing.  I remembered the excitement of the first interfaith events, which in Wisconsin were between the Catholics and the Lutherans.  Listening to the young people of so many different faiths explore ways to bring people together was a great lesson in how far we’ve come and how bright the future looks.


AR Meets Palestinian Authority in Ramallah with Nas Daily

Nas Daily made another video featuring our interfaith work, this time joining me and leaders from the Abrahamic Reunion in a visit, Sunday March 21, to the Fatah headquarters in Ramallah, where we met with Fatah Central Committee member Muhammad al-Madani and the “Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society”.

Click the picture to watch the video on Facebook

The Fatah leaders spoke about their recognition of Israel (but that Israel should define it’s Jewish character, they feel its not their job to) and willingness to consider any proposed solution, but first the occupation must end and two states come to exist side by side. They said Israelis must press their leaders to take more steps for peace.

Israelis brought up: recognize that the Jewish people are an indigenous people returning home through our own legitimate national liberation movement, were not foreign colonialists; stop incitement; and that Fatah leaders must support Palestinians who meet Israelis, who are accused of ‘normalization’ with Israel.

We all agreed on: claiming our shared heritage as the family of Abraham provides a way to re-build trust, religion and religious leaders must be part of the solution.

Joining were these religious leaders:
Eliyahu McLean, Director of the Abrahamic Reunion,
Haj Ibrahim Abu El Hawa, Mount of Olives,
Jiries Mansour, Greek Melkite Deacon from Rame, Galilee,
Rabbi Yakov Nagen, from Otniel Yeshiva,
Eliyahu Kaufman from Ramat Beit Shemesh
Rabbi Mordechai Minzberg, from Meah She’arim,
Rabbi Chaim Cohen from Mevo Modi’in,
Raanan Malek, Event Coordinator at the Tantur Institute, and
Daniel Aqleh, Evangelical minister from Bethlehem.
with Yehuda Schwartz, ‘Federation of Israel-Palestine’

About women’s participation, there are 5 religious women members active in the Abrahamic Reunion who couldn’t make it that day to Ramallah for different reasons: Hadassah Froman, Sana Albaz, Siham Halabi, Ibtisam Mahamid, and Rebecca Abrahamson.
Keep in mind also, most traditional Muslim, Jewish, Druze women, and Christian dont like to be filmed with men. There is alot of interfaith work happening in women only meetings, such as with Elana Rozenman, where it’s a safe space to meet without the men present.

Nas Daily, it’s been a beautiful collaboration, thanks for highlighting my interfaith work with your hip and up to date videos… it helps us in our uphill battle to overcome the negativity and share the stories of positive connections taking place across borders in the Land of the Prophets!

Nas Daily Films AR Peacemakers in 3 Viral Videos

Nas Daily, the 1 Minute Video Per Day viral videographer spreading through Facebook, has filmed 3 positive videos of the AR Peacemakers and included two of them in his “Positive Israel & Palestine” 8-minute mini-doc (8 of his 1-minute videos sewn together).

Together, these videos have been watched by over 1.5 million viewers online! (As of 3/30/17).


AR Holy Land Director Eliyahu McLean visits an Arab village to prove that it’s safe – and more – welcoming! (Click the picture to watch in Facebook)


8-minute Mini-documentary sewing together 8 of Nas Daily’s 1-minute videos of Israel & Palestine – featuring the Abrahamic Reunion!


Meeting of Religious Leaders of the Abrahamic Reunion with Palestinian Government Official Minister Madani


AR Peacemaker Hajj Ibrahim Abuelhawa interviewed at his Peace House