A new Knesset caucus was described as “a ray of hope that could revive the faith of coexistence in our shared land.”
Rival politicians and religious leaders from the Jewish and Muslim communities gathered at the Knesset on Tuesday for the launch of the parliament’s Jewish-Muslim Ties Caucus.
The initiative has been spearheaded by Likud MK Yehuda Glick, a committed advocate of Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount, and Arab MK Zuheir Bahloul of the Zionist Union.
Glick, an advocate for equal rights, is also involved in interfaith dialogue.
“There is nothing more valuable or stronger than this gathering here,” Bahloul said at the caucus, adding, “We are now at a period in which hatred, alienation, stereotypes and prejudice are the dominant voice in our lives.”
He called the meeting and the caucus itself “a ray of hope that could revive the faith of coexistence in our shared land.”
‘Peace is the Name of God’
“Peace is not just a comfortable solution that would prevent us from fighting, it is much deeper,” Glick said. “Peace is the name of God. We must have this discussion here because there are people who defame Judaism and Islam with no reason. We hope peace will spread from here to the rest of the world.”
The session discussed the value of life in both Judaism and Islam. It was attended by religious figures, including Dr. Ziad Zahalka, chief qadi (judge or magistrate) of Israel’s official Sharia courts, and Oded Wiener, former director of Israel’s chief rabbinate.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein welcomed the new group, saying, “I want to say that I am happy that we established this caucus.”
He added, however, that he “would like to live in a reality in which we won’t need to have such initiatives… Why do we need caucuses in order to talk with each other? Our reality is not perfect, unfortunately.”
Edelstein also praised Glick and Bahloul, who towards the end of last year had worked together to ensure that a bill was dropped which would have banned the use of loudspeakers to amplify the Muslim call to prayer between 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM. The pair introduced a system to resolve disputes through dialogue between local religious leaders.
By: The Tower
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