Ban at interfaith meeting in Vienna offers hopes for lasting cease-fire

(JTA) — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a meeting promoting interfaith dialogue said he hoped the cease-fire between Israel and Gaza would hold.

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Jewish interfaith leaders joined Muslim and Christian leaders for Tuesday’s meeting in Vienna, which came in conjunction with the opening of the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, a project sponsored by the Saudi royal family. 

Along with his hopes on the Egypt-moderated cease-fire ending more than a week of escalated conflict, Ban also said that understanding and dialogue between peoples of all faiths was essential to resolving ethnic strife across the globe.

Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and vice president of the World Jewish Congress, was among the Jewish leaders who attending the meeting.

“While we all looked on with deep concern at the recent events, we know that the strong bonds that exist between our religions will not be defined by violence,” he said. “Our goal is to ensure that the vast majority of the Muslim world, which practices peaceful interaction with peoples of all faiths, will continue to be our partners in promoting greater tolerance and dialogue across the international community.”

Along with Schneier, Jewish leaders attending the meeting included his father, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation; Rabbi David Rosen, director of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee; the chief rabbi of Moscow, Pinchas Goldschmidt, who also serves as president of the Conference of European Rabbis; and Lawrence Schiffman, chairman of the International Jewish Committee on Interfaith Consultations.

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