Religious Community Leaders discuss freedom of religion

Clerics also hold interfaith prayer session for rain.

By JONAH MANDEL
November 28, 2010 08:44
1 minute read.
Religious Community Leaders discuss freedom of religion

kinneret 88. (photo credit: )

Israel’s religious leaders met on Thursday in lower Galilee to discuss freedom of religion and worship in the Holy Land, as well as to offer a joint prayer for rain.

The Council of Religious Community Leaders in Israel, whose fourth annual convention took place at the Domus Galilaeae International Center near the Mount of Beatitude, is comprised of the heads of the various religious communities in Israel, including both chief rabbis, heads of churches, the head of the Druse community, the head of the Islamic Appeals Court and heads of other communities such as the Baha’i, Ahmadiyya, Lutherans, Anglicans, Samaritans, Copts, Ethiopians and Assyrians.

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Bahij Mansour, director of Inter-religious Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attended the event and said that beyond freedom of worship, the council’s Thursday session also dwelt on the role of religious leaders during crises.

The body was formed some four years ago at the initiative of the Foreign Ministry and the Interior Ministry to provide a forum for cooperation and dialogue among the different creeds. Besides holding workshops to that end, since its inception the council has been involved in numerous counts of lowering tensions between religious groups, such as those that arose between Muslims and Jews in Acre, Christians and Druse in Shfaram, and Druse and Jews in Peki’in, Mansour noted.

And – as one would expect from a congregation of men of faith a short distance from the alarmingly expanding shores of the Kinneret – the religious leaders held, prior to the Thursday meeting, separate and then joint prayers for an end to the drought.

Mansour noted the council’s growing recognition from organizations and bodies around the world, and an invitation to its members by Pope Benedict XVI to a meeting at the Vatican in January, which constitutes the Holy See’s official recognition of the forum and its importance in conducting dialogue and relations among the various religions in Israel.


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