September 12, 2005 – New York – In light of serious disagreements over Israel’s security barrier and the use of divestment by Mainline Protestant groups to bring about change in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, national American Jewish and Christian leaders will embark on an unprecedented jointly planned trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Standing on the rich tradition of working together to address questions of social justice, seventeen senior leaders representing eight Christian denominations and national organizations and six national Jewish organizations and religious movements will spend five days together in the land that is holy to both faiths, said David Elcott, U.S. Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee and a key organizer of the mission.
The trip, from September 18-22, is designed to find common ground among American Jews and Mainline Christians in the search for peace. The group seeks to more effectively support those Palestinians and Israelis who are working toward the goal of two states for two peoples.
The group’s itinerary includes meeting with Israeli and Palestinian public officials, religious leaders and scholars in Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Bethlehem. Delegates will also spend time together listening to the voices of Israelis and Palestinians who have suffered in this conflict.
“I pray that our peace mission to Jerusalem will help overcome our disagreements over specific policies. We owe it to our respective religious communities to pursue peace, and to support those in Israel and the Palestinian territories who are committed to two independent states living side by side in the Holy Land,” Elcott said.
· Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, Director of Interfaith Affairs, Anti-Defamation League
· Vidette Bullock Mixon, Director, Corporate Relations & Social Concerns, United Methodist Church
· Dr. David Elcott, U.S. Director, Interreligious Affairs, American Jewish Committee
· Ethan Felson, Director, Domestic Concerns, Jewish Council for Public Affairs
· Richard Foltin, Legislative Director and Counsel, American Jewish Committee
· Dennis Frado, Director, Lutheran Office for World Community, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
· Rev. Canon Brian Grieves, Director, Peace & Justice Ministries, The Episcopal Church
· Dr. Darrell H. Jodock, Chair, Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations, Evangelical Lutheran Church In America
· Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn, Director of Jewish Affairs, American Jewish Congress
· Dr. Peter Makari, Executive for the Middle East and Europe of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
· Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana, Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations, National Council of Churches
· Mark Pelavin, Associate Director, Religious Action Center, Union of Reform Judaism
· Rev Dr. John E. Roberts, Alliance of Baptists
· Rev. Dr. Jay Rock, Coordinator for Interfaith Relations, Presbyterian Church (USA)
· Emily Soloff, Executive Director, Chicago Chapter, American Jewish Committee
· Mark Waldman, Director of Public Policy, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
· Jim Winkler, General Secretary, General Board of Church & Society, United Methodist Church