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Nov 25, 2019

Interfaith/Intercultural Listening Group

Our group met on June 26 in Tivon, near Haifa.

We were about 25 people both Jews and Arabs.


Our group is unique in its methods. We listen to one person only for the first part of the encounter. He tells his life story with its emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


At this encounter we listened to Eman Hewala, who comes from Egypt tell her story. She shared her experiences growing up in Egypt in a religious Muslim family as well as the inner processes she went through as she realized that she wanted to/needed to leave Egypt. She talked about how she came to live in Israel several years ago and her hopes for the future.

The second part of the encounter was a time for the other group members to reflect back to her what hearing her story meant to them.


Nov 25, 2019

The Circle of Light and Hope - 2 encounters

Subject: Pain and Suffering in the 3 Abrahamic faiths.


The group met in Tantur with 11 people and started by introducing the attendees to each other.


Then Fransis presented the subject from the Jewish perspective. He said that the pain and the suffering that man bears will be compensated in the day after by a reward from God.

Sari followed and spoke about the Christian point of view and said there are nature-induced pains and human-induced pains. Jesus Christ had suffered in spite of he had not done any harm to others.

Taleb spoke about the subject saying that God is always fair, compassionate and loves his creatures all the same, and if something painful happens to the human being God wants us to be patient and always praise God in all cases; he will never leave his believers suffering.


All attendees participated in the talk and all were happy to hear others opinions.


Our encounter took place in Tantur Ecumenical Center in South Jerusalem.

The topic this time was one that I don’t think we have ever looked into: Work. What rights do workers have? How do employers have to treat workers, and what obligations do workers have towards their employers? Is there a right to work? Is there a minimum amount that workers should be paid, and what defines that amount? How much rest/vacation time is due to workers? A participant from each faith shortly presented the subject from their religions’ perspective and then attendees participated in a friendly exchange.


Nov 25, 2019

Released: 2018 Activity Report

In 2018, the Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA) persisted in its mission to build and promote peace in the Holy Land by encouraging interfaith dialogue.

Despite the challenges created by the cut of USAID funding to all projects that build bridges between Israelis and Palestinians, IEA facilitated a record number of 414 encounters and events across 101 groups, oversaw the creation or renewal of 11 groups, and engaged an estimated 4,000 people.

Please take a look at this colorful and inspiring document, summarizing the activity of the Interfaith Encounter Association during 2018.

How It Works:

The IEA invites people from different traditional and cultural backgrounds and faiths to join our groups. Within the groups, participants have meaningful encounters which bring them closer to each other. Prejudice, hostility, and suspicion are transformed into direct acquaintance, mutual respect, and friendship. Our groups are both a model for intercommunal relations of appreciation and care, and vehicles to promote them.

Unlike most other dialogue organizations, we work with, rather than around, the deep cultural roots, beliefs and traditions of the peoples of the Middle East. Each encounter is focused on a religious theme and features a carefully planned program of joint study and dialogue. The group then coalesces into a single community that respects the unique identity of each of its “sub-communities” and participants, which helps create a long-term process of grassroots peace-building. By constructively engaging core religious and cultural values, while initially discouraging political conversations that may close off constructive dialogue, our approach successfully involves social and political groups that may feel very uncomfortable with other approaches.


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