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
Jul 10, 2012

Jericho non-visit of the Interfaith Encounter Visits group

On the entrance to Jericho
On the entrance to Jericho

The Interfaith Encounter Visits group met on Friday April 27th. We were some nine Israelis and six Palestinians who met in Almog junction with the intention to go and visit Jericho.

When we arrived at the checkpoint of the Palestinian police in the entrance to the city, we realized that the Israeli army did not coordinate with them our entry. For about an hour we tried to convince them to let us into the city but nothing helped and they did not let us in. We will need to reschedule the visit to Jericho and this time check how to do the coordination with the Palestinian Authority ourselves.

So we went to "The Last Chance" restaurant and set there and talked on many, many issues. We started with the significance of Jericho in Islam and in Judaism – the people of Lot, Sodom and Gomorra etc. and the conversation streamed to a thousand other themes.

It was a wonderful encounter, even though we were disappointed that we could not enter the city. We do hope we will have better success next time.


May 21, 2012

ORPHANS - 34th Israeli-Palestinian retreat

In conversation
In conversation

This relatively intimate retreat took place in the Austrian Hospice in the Old City of Jerusalem, on March 22nd and 23rd 2012. It started with introduction of the Interfaith Encounter Association and Palestinian Peace Society, followed by self introduction of the participants.

After dinner we held the Jewish-focused session. Dr. Yehuda Stolov, Executive Director of IEA brought a few texts from the Bible, Midrash and Talmud indicating the vulnerability of the orphan and the widow and therefore the need to make special effort in order for them not to be hurt. This is not only in the case they are poor – even if they are reach financially, they are still with low spirit. Some of the scholars claim that this is extended to all vulnerable people in the society. Hurting an orphan or a widow is treated as the paradigm of ill behavior, such as the behavior that led to the flood or the destruction of Jerusalem, while treating them well is the paradigm of doing good, which is a characteristic of the greatness of God and will lead to the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Adopting an orphan is the example for charity that is ongoing and the one who raises an orphan is like she gave birth to him. The Midrash also mentions that God allowed the wolf to feed the orphans Romus and Romilus even though they were evil to the Nation of Israel when they grew up.

After the reach conversation we went for a walk in the Old City and managed to enjoy a bit the music festival that was going on that evening.

In the morning, the Muslim perspective was presented by Ahmed Makhluf and Dr. Taleb Alharithi. Orphans are referred to in the Quran 23 times. Basically there are two ways to encourage people to treat them well: stressing how good it will be for anyone who takes care of the orphan and how harshly will be punished the one who takes away things from the orphan. Helping an orphan or a widow is like praying the whole night or fasting the whole day. The one who helps an orphan will be together with the Prophet in paradise. Taking care of an orphan is a good enough reason to enter paradise while hurting an orphan is a good enough reason to go to hell. Taking away from orphans is among the seven things most important to refrain from (like murder or idol worshiping) and is equaled to putting fire in one's own mouth, which will also be their punishment in hell. An orphan has to carry his father's name and the guardian of the orphan's property has to take care of it more than of his own property.

In the concluding circle participants shared how important it was for them to add another light in the darkness and make one more step towards peace. One participant quoted the newspaper from the day before which mentioned the crucial role religion played in the success of the civil rights movement in the United States 47 years before.

We ended with coffee and cake that were offered to us by the Austrian Hospice to who we are very deeply grateful for their wonderful hospitality.

Informal exchange
Informal exchange
Small group dialogue
Small group dialogue


May 21, 2012

Jointly celebration Tu-Bishvat and Purim

February 8th: Tu Bishvat

50 students from A-Sallam School in Majd el-Krum and 50 students from Dekel School in Karmiel participated together in this special Tu Bishvat activity.

They sang songs in both languages and worked in the classes with work-sheets.

Artistic activity was conducted by the teacher Nariman Asadi and each group presented the final work they produced. We watched a film about Keren Kayemet, its history and its work.

We all planted together trees and plants in the school.

This encounter took place at Dekel School in Karmiel.


February 21st: Purim

Some 70 students took part in this cultural-educational encounter around the Jewish Holiday of Purim. The encounter took place in A-Sallam School in Majd el-Krum.

The students of A-Sallam School learned about Purim through a text brought by Hadas from Dekel School.

Then they held various activities of painting and gluing masks and costumes; and watched together a play in Hebrew about the theme.

The goal was to expose the Muslim students to the Jewish Holidays so that they know why Purim is celebrated and can relate to the issue.


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