Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Majalli Whbee, hosted the second Hindu-Jewish summit on 18 February. The delegations included senior religious leaders, researchers and politicians.
The first summit took place last year in New Delhi. This year, the aim of the summit, was the signing of a joint 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.
Minister Whbee also emphasised the importance of the Israel- India relationship in terms of trade, economics and defense. He briefed the members of the Indian delegation with respect to recent developments in the region and made a plea that India take a role in attempting to secure the release of the three abducted Israeli soldiers, now held for over 600 days.
Members of the Indian 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. Whbee shared his personal experience as a Druze, and highlighted the tolerance on the whole in Israeli society.
The meeting closed with a communal Hindu prayer service, calling for peace in the region.
(Issue April 2008)