Israel’s Chief Rabbi Calls for ‘UN of Religious Groups’

February 7, 2007

Source: Daily Times

NEW DELHI: A top Jewish religious leader here on Tuesday called for the establishment of a "United Nations of religious groups" to bridge inter-faith gaps though communication and dialogue.

Israel's Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, speaking at a Hindu-Jewish leadership summit, also called for a greater role for religious leaders in conflict resolution. The World Council of Religious Leaders (WCRL), which organised the summit, said it aimed to promote education, understanding and cooperation between the Hindu and Jewish faiths. Bawa Jain, secretary general of the WCRL, allayed apprehensions that the meeting aimed to forge an alliance against Islam and Christianity, saying the dialogue would include other religions in the next stage. He said Metzger would also meet behind closed doors with India's Muslim leaders.

Jain said since Jews were a powerful community in the US, their association with Hindus would help to strengthen Indo-US relations. A declaration issued at the end of the meeting said the two faiths would set up a standing committee on Hindu-Jewish relations. The declaration said since both religious have faced persecution, there was a need to educate succeeding generations about their past.

On Palestine, Metzger lamented that his community had dialogue only with moderate Muslim leaders with little power and influence. "So far efforts to engage other sections who command power have proved futile. But that doesn't mean we will end our efforts," he said.