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 19, 2011

Holidays, Jerusalem-Hebron YIE on Nov. 10th

The encounter began at 5:30pm on Thursday. We both, Jews from Jerusalem and the Muslims from Hebron, met at Al-Quds Hotel in Jerusalem.

We set together and dedicated some time to get to know everyone. First we introduced Moatasem the Muslim coordinator to the group and then he introduced to them Itamar, who is the new Jewish coordinator instead of Netta. Then each of the participants told the group a bit about him or her self.

Itamar told us about the Jewish Holiday of Sukkot, why it is celebrated, what the common customs are and what people's duties are in the Holiday of Sukkot – what do they have to do and where they should sit. After he finished Netta added a few points and then the group asked questions and for specific explanations.

Then Moatasem presented the Muslim Holiday of the Sacrifice (Eid el-Adha) – why we celebrate it, why is it called this way and what are the ceremonies performed during and around the Holiday, why do we slaughter sheep in the Holiday, how long does it last and what are its prayers. Then the members asked their questions and got answers.

We exchanged information, corrected mistakes we had about each other and learned each other's thoughts. Then we went together for a short tour and ended the encounter at 10pm.


Dec 12, 2011

Launch of IEA 41st group - 1st Teens group

First encounter of the Interfaith Encounter Israeli-Palestinian Teens group, Beit Jalla

The encounter was held on November 13th 2011, at 4pm in Beit Jalla.
We were three Jewish Israelis and seven Muslim and Christian Palestinians and we met in the Barbara Restaurant in Beit Jalla.

Since this was our first encounter, at first it was embarrassing and also the two coordinators did not prepare the encounter so we needed to improvise. Finally we found themes for conversation, like Gilad Shalit or the daily resting day in each of the religions: Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We began with a round of mentioning our names so we can remember them and we also asked the Palestinians what were the responses of their families and friends to the encounter and they also asked us. The dialogue was managed with Netta, who mentors the group, translating for both sides, as in this way it was easier to express ourselves. Although this took longer – it was better as in this way every one could express themselves in the language in which they feel most comfortable.

Yehuda, the director of our organization, the Interfaith Encounter Association, joined us. He told us about the organization and directed our conversation and made sure we prepare the next encounter next month.
Following the conversation we had we enjoyed and laughed and the ice broke. Finally we fare welled with the desire to meet again soon.


Dec 5, 2011

Oil for Peace - Olive Harvest in Jayus

On the weekend of October 14-15 we went to harvest olives in the village of Jayus, near Tsofim and Matan, fine minutes east of Kfar Saba.

The village itself is east of the security fence, but many of its land are west of it. Consequently, most of the village's farmers do not have access to their lands, since they do not have entry permits, and their ability to harvest their olives depends on volunteers.

After leaving the road we took a dirt-road between different fields and stopped near the plantation of Nafouk family, where we joined them for the work. Ali, sports' teacher, his wife and their two children explained to us what to do and offered steaming Sage tea.

Work was pleasant. We used Plastic rakes to bring down the dark olives to the Canvas sheets, and from there into the sacks. The sun warmed us gently and the afternoon breeze from the west kept our weather and spirit in excellent conditions.

During the field lunch we had a spontaneous interfaith encounter. Ali told us about a fable related to Moses, who according to Islam was the only prophet who could speak directly with God. The moral of the story was that the one who keeps well what he has – gains richness.


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