Prime Minister of Hesse visits Israel

The Prime Minister of the German Federal State of Hesse visited Israel last week. The Christian-Democrat Mr. Volker Bouffier headed a delegation of thirty. Among many other items on his program, there were two interfaith activities. A meeting with local interfaith activists at Tantur Institute and a long Erev Shabbat meeting, including Shabbat service and dinner, at Yedidya synagogue, the congregation of ICCJ President Dr. Deborah Weissman.

The Israel Interreligious Coordinating Council, ICCI, one of ICCJ’s Israeli member organizations, organized a meeting to introduce to the Prime Minister the grass root interfaith and peace activities of their local members. Representatives of Newe Shalom/Wahat al-Salaam, the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian relations and others explained over lunch Mr. Bouffier their involvement in interfaith activities in Israel and Palestine. Last but not least ICCJ President Debbie Weissman introduced to the Prime Minister the International Council of Christians and Jews. Proving the unwavering support of the state of Hesse for the ongoing work of the ICCJ, Mr. Bouffier handed at the end of the meeting a cheque to Dr. Weissman. The State of Hesse wants to continue its support for ICCJ, based in the Martin Buber House in Heppenheim, in South Hesse.

On Friday evening the German delegation went to Yedidya Synagogue, the spiritual home of ICCJ President Debbie Weissman and many more closely related to ICCJ. The Shabbat service was introduced to the distinguished guests and explained while worship went on. At the end of the service Prime Minster Bouffier addressed the congregation. A Sabbath dinner of the delegation together with some twenty members of Yedidya concluded a very successful interfaith contact. 

Picture: front right to left: PM Volkier Boeffier, Dr. Deborah Weissman, ICCJ President, Rev. Dick Pruiksma, ICCJ General Secretary. Second row right to left: Dr. Oliver Franz, Hesse Government official and member of the Advisory Board Martin Buber Foundation, former ICCJ General Secretray Rev. Friedhelm Pieper and Father Tiomothy Lowe, Director of Tantur Ecumenical Institute.