Williams builds bridges with Israel's chief rabbis

By staff writers
November 1, 2007

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, who is head of the Church of England and spiritual leader of the 77 million Anglican Communion, yesterday (31 October 2007) held talks in Jerusalem with Israel's Chief Rabbis.

The Archbishop, who was accompanied by Bishop Suhail Dawani of Jerusalem and Bishop Michael Jackson of Clogher, Ireland, held the second in a series of annual discussions with Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger of Israel, accompanied by the Chief Rabbi of Haifa Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen.

The first in the series of encounters was hosted at Lambeth Palace on 5 September 2006.

Dr Rowan Williams declared: "These conversations are an invaluable opportunity to cement the relationship between our communities, and to build on the opportunities that interreligious cooperation provides."

He continued: "Our shared scriptural understanding led us to reaffirm our understanding of the sanctity of life. Dialogue and mutual respect are the seed beds within which understanding and common cause can flourish, sometimes, by the grace of God, in the most unpromising of circumstances."

Discussions also touched on recent inter religious developments in the Holy Land and the wider region. The fruits of the first meeting of the Anglican Jewish Commission in July "were noted with pleasure", said a communique.

Further work was requested on such themes as environment and ecology, science and technology, and education. The work of the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land was welcomed and the significance of its forthcoming meeting in Washington was highlighted.

The Chief Rabbis congratulated the Archbishop on becoming a Co-President of Religions for Peace and endorsed its role in deepening the religious contribution to the well being of society.

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