African clergy 311.
(photo credit: Chief Rabbinate of Israel)
An interfaith mission of African clergy is in Israel to learn from one another
and local experts about ways religion can contribute to and inspire community
The Foreign Ministry teamed up with the American
Jewish Committee to bring together two Muslim imams, seven Christian clergy
members and one rabbi from Angola, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and South
The AJC said it was the first time that Muslim and Christian
leaders have made a joint visit to Israel.
They arrived on Monday for
four days of discussions and meetings with the highest echelon of the country’s
religious leadership, as well as with President Shimon Peres and other prominent
The delegation has already met with both chief rabbis, the Latin
and Greek patriarchs and Armenian archbishop, and will be meeting with Qadi
Muhammad Abu Obeid in Nazareth on Thursday.
The religious leaders were
also exposed to social and communal projects at work in Israel, such as Yad
Sarah, and paid a visit to Neveh Shalom, where Jews, Christians and Muslims
share a small community.
“Many of the participants noted with
appreciation not only the remarkable initiatives they have seen and learnt about
in Israel, but that this is the first opportunity that they have had to share
their own experiences and best practices with religious leaders from other parts
of Africa,” said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s international director of
Rosen noted the “wonder and amusement” expressed
by one delegation member at the fact that it took the AJC and the Israeli
Foreign Ministry to facilitate this encounter. Tensions between Christians and
Muslims exist in some of the delegates’ countries.
Shimon Mercer-Wood of
the ministry’s Africa Division, who initiated the visit, cited the significance
of this kind of encounter with African clergy.
“Religious leaders are
highly influential in Africa, both on the public and the political leadership,”
“This delegation will assist us in deepening our
dialogue with the Muslim communities in Africa.”