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No. 47 • July - December 2008 • Page 339
 •  Initiatives

Pamplona, Spain -- "War and Peace in the Promised Land"

Over one hundred political figures, historians and journalists took part in a course on “The History of Israel and the Jewish People: War and Peace in the Promised Land,” which was held at the University of Navarre from September 1 to 3. Within the framework of the 60th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel, the program offered a panorama of the history of the Jewish people, with special attention to the current situation in the Middle East. The course combined theoretical sessions with audiovisual workshops and round table discussions. Its object was to help bring culture and religion closer to one another.

Samuel Hadas, former Israeli ambassador to the Holy See, Mexico and Spain, and a member of the International Committee on Jewish-Catholic Relations at the Peres Center for Peace, gave one of the talks. He stressed that “the world’s religions in the past have helped to prevent and resolve conflicts, and will continue do so in the future.” In his judgment, “one shouldn’t overlook the positive influence that religion can have on people’s consciences. There is an urgent need to transmit the true message of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which is a message of peace opposed to totalitarianism.”

Among others taking part in the seminar were Rafael Schutz, Israel’s current ambassador to Spain; Danielle Rozenberg, a professor at the University of Paris and recipient of the Alberto Benveniste prize in 2007; Daniel Blumenthal, international correspondent in Israel and the Middle East since 1980; and the Palestinian researcher Munther S. Dajani, from the Al Quds University in East Jerusalem and director of the Issam Sartawi Center for the Advancement of Peace and Democracy. According to the Palestinian specialist, “These days are crucial in the history of Israel and Palestine. If there is a lack of prudence and rationality to check the power of extremism and fanaticism, we could enter another vicious circle of violence.”

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