The delegates were briefed on recent developments in the region, and were asked to act to strengthen the moderates in the region and to assist in obtaining information on the three abducted soldiers.

 Deputy FM Whbee meets participants in second Hindu-Jewish summit


Deputy FM Whbee and the delegation of Hindu religious leaders      (Photo: MFA)

(Communicated by the Deputy Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Majalli Whbee today (Tuesday, 19 February 2008) hosted the delegation of senior Hindu religious leaders who have arrived in Israel to participate in the second Hindu-Jewish summit. The delegation includes senior religious leaders, researchers, and an entourage.

The first summit took place last year in New Delhi, and in this year’s summit, the Indian and Israeli participants are expected to sign a declaration in praise of religious tolerance and of interfaith and intercultural discussion and discourse as a means of promoting peace and stability between all religions in the world.

At the meeting, Deputy FM Whbee welcomed the guests, emphasizing the importance of inter-religion dialogue and of the importance Israel places on its relationship with India, especially with regard to the political, defense and economic aspects, which currently amount to 3.2 billion dollars annually.

The Deputy FM briefed the members of the delegation regarding recent developments in the region, stating that in contrast to the past characterized by the Israel-Arab conflict, today there is a confrontation between the moderate bloc, in which Israel. Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are members, and the radical bloc, led by Iran and which includes Syria, Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian Authority.  Deputy FM Whbee requested that members of the delegation act to strengthen the moderates in the region, as opposed to those who view terrorism as a legitimate means of disseminating extremist ideas.  He also requested that the delegates assist in the issue of the three abducted soldiers, stating that Hizbullah has withheld any sign of life of the two soldiers it holds for over 600 days.

Members of the delegation expressed their surprise to find an Arab deputy minister in the Jewish state, and requested additional information of the ethnic-religious balance in Israel. Deputy FM Whbee shared his personal experience as a Druze, and concluded by stating that tolerance and patience are the keys to communal life in a multi-religion community.

The delegation closed the meeting with a communal Hindu prayer service, calling for peace in our region and in the entire world.