The Abrahamic Reunion joined the Negev Interfaith Initiative at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva on November 20. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious leaders and peacemakers came together launch a new interfaith initiative in the south of Israel. The AR’s Holy Land Board Co-Chair, Imam Khalil Albaz, suggested this continue as a chapter of the Abrahamic Reunion. All who gathered vowed to continue interfaith cooperation in the Negev region between Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the area – notably the oft-marginalized Bedouins.
Joining were Khalil Albaz, Imam of Tel Sheva, Rabbi Michael Graetz from Omer, Sheikh Turad, the Bedouin Imam of Hura, Polish Father Peter of the Hebrew speaking Catholic community, Elkana Sherlo, woman teacher of Judaism from Yeruham, and Arab and Jewish women from the ‘Women Wage Peace’ movement.
Peacemakers of the AR are currently working to develop regional inter-religious councils that will be active in local and regional AR Chapters in the Negev, East Jerusalem, Palestine (Jericho, Bethlehem, and Nablus), and Shefar’am. These Chapters will organize regular interreligious encounters, text studies, dinners, and other programs to weave threads of peace, trust, collaboration, and reunion into the fabric of their communities.
What was once a scattered and at times isolated group of peacemakers of all faiths, working throughout the Holy Land individually and nationally, can now, with the AR’s support, become an interconnected network of local and regional hubs of peacebuilding to support the greater work of turning the country from conflict and separation to peace and harmony.
Planned next is a larger event in January of 2018.