That’s the Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope & Peace meeting with the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani (at center, in purple shirt). Dawani hosted the group after Sunday morning services at St. George’s Cathedral in East Jerusalem.
Dawani discussed the constructive role he and his church are trying to play as a moderating force between Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Arabs. They include a department of reconciliation, and a Kids 4 Peace interfaith program, where Christian, Jewish, and Muslim children from the Holy Land and the United States take part in summer camps in America.
“Israelis and Palestinians don’t hear each other,” he said. “We need people to be friends of the Israelis and the Palestinians. People come here as friends for only one side or the other. This is a problem. This is not justice.”
I was told later that the bishop’s predecessors were far less inclined to talk in the language of reconciliation, and that for those who believe in people-to-people diplomacy his tenure has come as a breath of fresh air. Although the Christian population in the Middle East is small and dwindling, the Nablus native hopes to be an honest broker and an intermediary between clergy on all sides of the divide.