Zionist rabbis take part in Saudi Arabia interfaith event

Moshe Lewin, Riccardo Di Segni and David Rosen

Zionist rabbis from America, Italy and France have participated in an interfaith event in Saudi Arabia organised by the Muslim World League.

The two day event in Riyadh, called the Forum on Common Values, took place on May 11 and 12 but news of it is just emerging now.

The conference hosted Rabbi David Rosen of the American Jewish Committee – a lobby group which works to support Israel.

Italy’s Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni also attended the event. He has called Palestinian fighters “terrorists.”

And the pro-Israel Rabbi Moche Lewin, Special Adviser to the Chief Rabbi of France, was also present.

The conference also hosted around 100 Christian, Hindu and Buddhist religious leaders, alongside Muslims, “to explore shared values and a common global vision for interfaith cooperation.”

Attendees and speakers included: Mohammed Al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League; Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State; Bartholomew I, Ecumenical patriarch and spiritual leader to 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide; Banagala Upatissa Thero, President of the Buddhist Mahabodhi society of Sri Lanka; Ven Swami Awdheshanand Giri, Chairman, Hindu Dharam Acharya Sabha (India); and Sheikh Dr. Shawki Allam, Grand Mufti of Egypt.

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The conference recommended launching a global forum called: “Religious Diplomacy Forum for Building Bridges” based on the “influential role of religions in human societies, and the important role of religious followers in bridging the relationship between religions and cultures for the purpose of peace-building.”

The conference also invited the United Nations General Assembly to adopt an international day for “Common Human Values” that celebrates the commonalities between religions and cultures around the world.

Mohammed Al-Issa, Secretary General of the host organization, the Muslim World League, said: “The aims of this conference aligns to the values of Muslim World League, which strives to build humanitarian partnerships for a more cooperative and peaceful world and more harmonious communities.

“This conference tackles some of the major issues of our day. As the largest Islamic NGO, headquartered in the birthplace of Islam in Saudi Arabia, we have a special responsibility to do this work. Whether it is to tackle climate change, to support refugees and vulnerable communities around the world, or simply to spread messages of peace and co-existence, the kind of interfaith trust and cooperation this event is fostering is desperately needed to support those real-world goals.”

Saudi Arabia is also currently hosting Avi Kaner, a prominent American businessman and Israel supporter. Kaner is tweeting about his trip.  

In the past the UAE and Bahrain, among others, have hosted interfaith events with Zionists and Israelis as a prelude to establishing more formal relations between their states and Israel.

This has led to speculation that Saudi Arabia is planning to do the same at some point in the future.

Currently Saudi Arabia and Israel have no official ties but it’s thought that they are in regular contact behind the scenes.

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