December 2, 2005 – New York – Abrahamic Voices of Peace, an American Jewish Committee interfaith initiative, is sponsoring the visit to the U.S. next week of three religious leaders – a sheikh, a priest and a rabbi – who will discuss their experience in deepening understanding and cooperation among their respective communities in the Middle East.
The visit to Arizona, Boston, Philadelphia, and the New York City suburbs of Long Island and Westchester is part of the innovative AJC program, which aims to inspire support for peace and security for Israel and the Palestinians. Another trio visited the western U.S. earlier this year.
"We want to send a message of hope, to convey clearly that peaceful cooperation between the main religious communities in the Middle East is possible," said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s international director of interreligious affairs. "Our program offers Americans a unique opportunity to express and discuss their fears, concerns and questions about the region with Israeli Arabs and Jews."
The three religious leaders are the Rev. Samuel S. Fanous, an Anglican priest and rector of the Emmanuel Anglican Church of Ramle; Sheikh Mithkal Natour, an expert in Arabic and Islamic law who has served as the director general of Jerusalem’s Department of Education for Arabic schools; and, Rabbi Ronen Lubitch, an Orthodox educator and spiritual leader of Nir Etzion, a kibbutz in the Carmel Mountains.
The three will discuss with local Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities their successful efforts in deepening understanding, experiences that could serve as models of cooperation for faith communities in the U.S. who have direct connections to the Middle East.