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Rabbi David Rosen, who has been invited to an interfaith conference in Madrid hosted by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah next week, said Thursday that he expects to make significant progress in Muslim-Jewish relations while there.

Rabbi David Rosen

Rabbi David Rosen
Photo: Courtesy

Rosen is the only Israeli rabbi to be invited to the conference, which will host 200 spiritual leaders from July 16-18, including representatives from Iran, Lebanon and Syria. Several American rabbis from varying streams have also been invited.

Born in England, Rosen moved to Israel in 1967 and now serves as the president of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultation, based in Jerusalem. While he acknowledges the controversy surrounding the conference, Rosen sees attendance as an opportunity to bridge cultural barriers and bring about political reconciliation.

“This is just a first step in breaking stereotypes and increasing communication between the Jewish and Muslim worlds, even the Israeli and Arab worlds, and decreasing the violent abuse of religion,” Rosen told The Jerusalem Post. “I believe that we have everything to gain through encouraging this process and a great deal to lose if we turn our back on it.”

Even so, Rosen feels that Saudi Arabia has an ulterior motive in sponsoring the conference and that limited benefits will come out it.

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