Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA)

The IEA works to promote real coexistence and human peace in the Holy Land and the Middle East through interactive inter-religious dialogue. We believe that, rather than being the cause of the problem; religion can and should be a source of solution for conflicts in the region and beyond. We do not believe in blending all traditions into one undifferentiated group, but in providing a table where all can come and sit in safety and ease, while being fully who they are in their respective religions
Dec 9, 2014

Palestinian & Israeli youth during the Gaza fight

August 7th 2014

We met at seven o'clock in the café in entrance to the cinema and we were five Palestinians and two Jews. Also participated the encounter Yehuda and Salah, directors of the Interfaith Encounter Association.

The subject of the encounter was the laws of war in religion. At the beginning of the meeting, we talked about various subjects related to the theme. Then Itamar began to talk about the subject from the Jewish perspective and we were asking them questions. Then we took coffee and cold drinks and I Moatasem spoke on the subject from the Islamic perspective.

At the end of the encounter the conversation flowed to what was happening in Gaza from the religious perspective, to both sides. At ten o'clock we closed the encounter and went wandering in the area together.

Links:

Dec 2, 2014

Karmiel & Majd el-Krum School Twinning - 2 updates

Participants
Participants' photo

May 15th 2014

Encounter between students of the two schools – A-Salam in Majd el-Krum and Dekel in Karmiel.

The encounter focused on the customs of Passover.

After the Kids from A-Salam were welcomed at Dekel school, all pupils gathered together and we explained to them how the day is going to look like and what we are about to do in it.

The day had three parts:

  1. Explanations about Passover and why it is celebrated.
  2. The differences between the Jewish Passover and the Christian Easter and why each community celebrates their Holiday.
  3. The students were divided into three mixed groups for creative activities with the art teachers on various aspects of the Holiday: food, religious figures, symbols etc.

Finally the students had a joint football gave and we concluded the day. 

June 10th 2014

Summary and pick-day for the project

The children met, together with the educators, in A-Salam School and held a joint conversation about the year's activity. The children shared about their experience in participating in joint activities with children from the other sector, what did they gain from it? How did they feel? What was new? What needs to be improved?

We also got feedback from the parents when the children spoke about the support and encouragement they received from their parents to participate in such encounters that bridge between the children and remove prejudices and stereotypes. Finally, each student wrote a sentence about peace and living together. We concluded with sports games in mixed groups, which was very enjoyable for all.

Workshop
Workshop
Playing together
Playing together
The team
The team

Links:

Nov 25, 2014

Sanctity of Life

The group of Rabbis and Sheikhs met again on 16th November with four Jews and four Muslims.

First we got to know the new people and reviewed several media articles that mentioned the group (the two versions of the YNET article got almost 5,000 likes!) and the meeting of the rabbi and sheikh coordinating the group and IEA director with the Special Advisor to US Secretary Kerry on Faith-Based Initiatives.

Then we moved to talking about the theme of the encounter – Sanctity of Life. Rabbi Yacov started by presenting several key Jewish texts on the theme: Bible, Genesis 1: 27: "God created Humanity in his own image, in the image of God he created them"

Rabbi Akiva, Mishna Avot 3:14: "Beloved are Humans who are created in the image of God"

Rabbi Akiva, Sifra: "love your neighbor as yourself" this is the essential principle of the Torah"

Rabbi Abraham Kook Chapter 1 "For the Perplexed of the Generation":

"That Humanity is created in the image of God, this is the essence of the entire Torah" Bible Genesis Chapter 18

17 And the LORD said: 'Shall I hide from Abraham that which I am doing; 18 seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice.

 

Then Sheikh Abu Wisam presented the Muslim perspective. The Quran respects others, especially Jews and Christians, and we know that this is also true for Judaism and Christianity. But unfortunately sometimes political issues cause separation between the people, with conflicts that are only between the political leaderships, not between the people. People want security and stability in their lives and for that we should live in mutual respect. There are indeed groups that seek power and wealth and political, not religious, goals, and misuse Islam to justify terrorism. These groups bring bad name to Islam and when we will return to the true Islam they will vanish. We should work together to rebuild the relations between the communities and put aside the mutual harms done. The original situation was good but the British imperialism deteriorated our relations. When we advance in restoring them – we could live in harmony together.

A long, friendly and vivid conversation followed the two presentations. Some of the points that were made were:

  • The challenge is not in convincing people – they all want peace. The challenge is in the actual building of mutual respect and trust.
  • The initiative should come from the Jewish side, which is stronger. This will bring strong positive response from the Muslim side.
  • Empowerment of religion should give non-violent solutions to stress situations and this is our role as religious leaders. Religion also teaches us to be patient since the main part of the reward is in the next world.
  • We are all guests on this land, which belongs to God, and our duty is to respect each other and live in peace, on the land of peace.

Links:

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