AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization, and Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the World Council of Religions, are hosting a delegation of influential Eastern religious leaders. For most of the 25 participants the visit will be their first to Israel.

The five-day program, “Ancient Traditions Contemporary Realities – A Meeting of Israel-Asia Faith Leaders” will take place in Jerusalem September 11-15, and will include visits to other parts of the country. The influential Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Shinto, Jain, Taoism and Zoroastrian leaders from China, India, Japan, Myanmar, South Korea and Taiwan will engage with leading Israeli rabbis and scholars as well as meet with Israel's top leadership.

“Expanding our interactions with other faiths is critical to nurturing a more cooperative, productive and peaceful world,” said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC International Director of Interreligious Affairs, who is based in Jerusalem.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Israel’s Foreign Ministry in bringing world religious leaders to Israel, with this groundbreaking initiative,” said Rosen. “It is a unique opportunity to engage leaders in Eastern religions so they may gain a deeper understanding of Judaism and Israel, and to promote global interreligious awareness.”

Asia is increasingly important to Israel, and AJC has long been active with government and religious leaders in that region. AJC co-sponsored a historic series of Hindu-Jewish summits, one of which took place in Israel in 2008. A groundbreaking visit to Israel of Indian Muslims in 2007 was organized by AJC. In March this year AJC and the Israeli Foreign Ministry co-hosted major Muslim leaders from sub-Saharan Africa.

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