Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

The Jubillennium Interfaith Convention for World Peace Israel

by Gad Nahshon

The 'Jubillennium', an organization whose offices are located in Netania, Israel, and its founder- president Yehoram Ben-Shalom, has been recently established in order to launch the greatest peace initiative on earth so that we can live in peace, harmony, and brotherhood of mankind in the next coming thousand years, in the next millennium.

'Jubillennium' is an international umbrella organization with branches all over the world and being supported by other organizations such as the UN and many celebrities and by all the people who are committed to the idea of a universal peace, culture of peace and harmony.

The first step for this universal peace initiative took place on Sept. 14th, 1999 at the regal UN Plaza Hotel (Dag Hammarskjold room) the first Jubillennium breakfast. It was also sponsored by many organizations and the business community of New York. This symbolic event was followed by:

  1. UN Peace Bell Ceremony, in which UN secretary general Kofi Annan rang the bell for the third millennium and declared that the peace culture must destroy forever the culture of violence. He called for a brave new world of universal tolerance.

  2. School children delivered peace carols to the UN Missions and invited diplomats to join in an international moment of peace.

  3. Declaration of the 'marching for peace program.'

  4. In the breakfast representatives of UNESCO, sister cities international organizations who fight against world poverty and the world movement for non-violence spoke for peace and harmony.

  5. The Jubillennium's "Manifesto 2000 For A Culture of Peace and Non-Violence" was signed by the Dalai Lama, Mikhael Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Shimon Peres, Coretta Scott King, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Elie Wiesel. Other celebrities will follow and support this holy initiative.

  6. Many representatives of states and members of the UN participated in this breakfast: Israel, Iran, Costa-Rica, the US, and others. Mr. Ben Shalom, the president of Jubillennium, thanked the many participants and greeted them with the blessings of 'shana tova.' He told them that in the Jewish tradition we eat apple with honey so the next year, or millennium, will taste like honey, a victory for eternal peace. 'Give peace a chance.' He told me that his goal is to achieve a million signatures of the Jubillenium's charter. Jubillenium, of course, is the combining of jubilee and millennium.

Ben-Shalom is still negotiating with many more states, organizations, and celebrities who want to join his Jubillenium peace initiative. Even China is considering joining the crusade although the Dalai-Lama (Tibet) is among the main sponsors of the Jubillenium. But the Jubillenium's focus this month is on its interfaith convention for world peace which will take place Nov. 21-23 at Kursi, Ein-Gev, Tiberias, Jof- Guy and Bliit Gariel, all located near Lake Kineret in northern Israel.

The sponsors are: The International Coordinating Council in Israel, and the World Conference on Religion and Peace. Ben Shalom and the Jubillennium are responsible for the success of this unprecedented conference in Israel. Never before has such an interfaith convention taken place in Israel. The following are the "aims of the convention: spirituality, environment, psychological dimensions (peace of mind), peace education, women's role in the world peace, "Tikkun Olama" (to improve the world's moral values), and children's education.

The aims of the convention are also to be found in this following message of the organizers: "It is appropriate that at the outset of the new millennium, an effort should be made to take stock of the role of religion in our society and what hopes it offers to humankind for the future.

It is also appropriate that such an assessment of the past and of the future should be made in the Holy Land from which has sprung, over the past three millennia, so many of the religious teachings which have inspired the peoples of the world. The Convention, largely defined as The Contribution of Religion to Peace will bring together outstanding religious leaders and people of good will from all over the world. Meeting at the Sea of Galilee on November 20th-22nd, 1999, this Convention will take into consideration the impact of religion to the concept of educating the next generations toward developing an attitude of peace within their own cultural contexts.

At the heart of this larger Convention, will be a series of core dialogues encompassing a more direct approach to the question of Religion in Conflicts - Problem or Solution. This special gathering of high level leaders, including His Holiness, the Dalai Lama and others invited from those parts of the world where religion has in the past demonstrated its ability to divide believer from believer through conflict. Religious and cultural leaders from Bosnia, Northern Ireland, South Africa and the Middle East among others, from all over the world, will consider the role or religion in conflict situations and look at what can be done to ensure that religion contributes more to the resolution of conflicts than to their creation. While these deliberations are taking place, a parallel group will be considering what may be the role of religious belief in the next thousand years in contributing to peace. In taking into consideration the goal of education for peace through religious and cultural ideas, these outstanding thinkers, clerics and laymen will give their points of view in a context which permits the free interchange of opinion.

The two groups - that presided over by the Dalai Lama and the larger gathering formed by very distinguished top leaders - will come together at various times during the three-day Convention: for morning meditation, for the opening and closing sessions, at public symposia and on less formal occasions. It is the intention of the organizers of the Convention (Jubillenium and The Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel) that the findings of those leaders considering the question of religion and conflict together with the more general conclusions reached by the larger group discussions will be given to a wider audience through the media and afterwards through publication of the proceedings.

This will not be just another Convention. Rather, it will be a spiritual and cultural gathering at which those present will be inspired by a sense of common purpose and by love of their fellows. It will be a meeting of those devoted to peace, to an understanding of both religious and cultural differences, and to a determination to educate others towards a mindset of peace in the world. Those who will attend and lead this Convention are men and women whose qualities are such that they can help to create a unique atmosphere from which can spring new ideas and hope for the future of the peoples of the world.

The following is only a temporary list of the participants in this convention:

MEMBERS FROM THE CORE SEMINAR FROM ABROAD, INCLUDING:

RELIGIOUS LEADERS FROM ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY:

Facilitators:


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