(ACNS) The fourth regular meeting of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbis of Israel took place at the Jerusalem offices of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel on 22nd February 2010 / 8th Adar 5770 in keeping with their joint protocol signed in 2006/5766
The Most Revd. Dr. Rowan Williams accompanied by the Rt. Revd. Michael Jackson, Bishop of Clogher and co-chair of the Anglican Jewish Commission; the Rt. Revd. Suheil Dawani, Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem; and the Revd. Canon Guy Wilkinson, the Archbishop’s Secretary for Inter religious Affairs, were welcomed by Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Rishon LeZion and Chief Rabbi of Israel, supported by Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Haifa and co-chair of the Anglican-Jewish Commission; Rabbi David Rosen, Advisor to the Chief Rabbinate on Interreligious Affairs, Rabbi David Brodman, Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber and Mr Oded Wiener, Director-General of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
After initial warm greetings and expression of thanks to the Creator of the Universe for His Providence – in particular for the ongoing friendship between the principals and their respective colleagues ”“ warm mutual appreciation was expressed for the work of the Anglican Jewish Commission whose most recent meeting had focused on the meaning and significance of Jerusalem in the Jewish and Christian traditions.
The Archbishop reflected on the presentations and on the concluding statement of that meeting and expressed his own hopes and prayers and those of his Church that the spirit of deep understanding and mutual respect that pervaded the substance and form of that meeting will soon be reflected on the ground between the different faith communities through a just and peaceful resolution of the conflict in Jerusalem and the Holy Land as a whole.
Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen responded, echoing the sentiments of the Archbishop and adding the hope that genuine peace and reconciliation will be one in which provision is made not only for the respect of separate holy sites of each faith, but also for open access to sites holy to more than one faith in a manner acceptable to all relevant parties. All present expressed gratification with the progress of the Dialogue to a degree that enabled honest and frank exchange in discussion of both convergent and divergent vital issues. This was considered of great significance in giving a renewed impetus for a continuation and deepening of the Dialogue.
Chief Rabbi Amar and Archbishop Williams offered their reflections on the theme of the forthcoming meeting in London of the Anglican Jewish Commission on creation and human responsibility for the environment. They spoke of their common understanding of the creation as a gift of the Creator entrusted to humanity. They emphasised that Scripture insists on the integrity of both the spiritual and material for any effective approach to environmental concerns.
Discussion also took place concerning the life and needs of the diverse Christian community in Jerusalem and the Holy Land and a clear commitment was made to find practical ways in which greater mutual understanding between communities could be brought about and to which the special relationship of the principals could contribute.
The deliberations concluded with a commendation of the work of the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land and a commitment to continue the Dialogue and the work of the Anglican Jewish Commission.
Following the meeting the delegations went together to Yad Vashem. The Archbishop, with Bishop Suhail Dawani and Bishop Michael Jackson laid a wreath in recognition of the abiding significance of the Holocaust and as a commitment to the struggle against the continuing evil of anti Semitism and all racial hatred and bigotry.