Clergymen increase their understanding

June 15, 2016 by J-Wire
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Nine clergymen and women from Australia and New Zealand recently returned from a study tour to Israel organised by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) Rambam Israel Fellowship Program.

 Fr. Isuru Weliwatte, Rabbi Ralph Genende, Rev. Peter Rivett, Canon Heather Patacca and AIJAC executive director Colin Rubenstein.

Fr. Isuru Weliwatte, Rabbi Ralph Genende, Rev. Peter Rivett, Canon Heather Patacca and AIJAC executive director Colin Rubenstein.

Led by AIJAC editorial board member Rabbi Ralph Genende of the Caulfield Hebrew Congregation, participants included Fr. Roland Agrisola and Fr. Isuru Weliwatte (Catholic); Rev. Dr Murray Earl, Rev. Andrew Johnson and Rev. Peter Rivett (Uniting Church); Rev. Ian Lambert and Canon HeatherPatacca (Anglican); and Rev. Jayson Rhodes and Rev. Kay Webster (Anglican, New Zealand).

The program offers delegates a greater understanding of Israel’s achievements and its accompanying security challenges.

The group held briefings with Israeli and Palestinian politicians and journalists, and heard from Palestinian Media Watch, which monitors anti-Israel and antisemitic incitement in Palestinian media.

The group visited Jerusalem, Bethlehem and its refugee camp, the Israeli settlement bloc of Gush Etzion, Yad Vashem, the Golan/Lebanon border, the Israeli town of Sderot near the Gaza border, and important Christian pilgrimage sites like Nazareth.

Three delegates recently shared their impressions at an AIJAC luncheon.

AIJAC executive director Colin Rubenstein told the function of the unique role religion has in trying to bring peace to the conflict.

Fr. Weliwatte echoed this, saying that to find peace people must look for “God in the mess” and the visit “reminded him of the links between Jews, Christians and Muslims.”

Canon Patacca said she was “amazed” that such a small piece of land attracts such a large focus of the world’s attention.

Rev. Rivett said he returned to Australia satisfied that he had seen “moments of hope” that peace is possible.


One Response to “Clergymen increase their understanding”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    I wonder how far Fr Eliwatte’s understanding or rememberance of the link between the three goes…..

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