Yediot Acharonot Article Dec 22, 2014 – Lighting A Hannukah Menorah For Peace


English Translation: “Lighting a Hannukah Menorah for Peace”

Jews, Palestinians and Samaritans came for the lighting of the candles on Mount Grizim – In Hebrew and Arabic in parallel, they prayed for the sake of peace.

“Elohim Gadol”, (“God is Great”), exclaimed yesterday a group of Jewish worshipers, arranged in a semi-circle, as they stood in part of a circle on Mount Grizim just south of Shechem(Nablus). “Takbir, Allahu-Akbar”, answered them, more members of the circle, religious Muslims. Were not speaking here about an inter-religious battle, rather the opposite: a shared prayer for peace – that continued on to the lighting of the Hannukah candles.

by Akiba Novick
Rabbis, Sheikhs, the high priest of the Samaritan sect and the governor of the Nablus region, Akram Rajoub gathered yesterday for a celebratory candle lighting, as part of series of prayer (gatherings) of the “Abrahamic Reunion”. We’re speaking here about a group of religious leaders, Jews and Muslims, who dream about bringing peace through religious sources and the shared heritage of the two religions. About 120 participants read sacred texts together, learned about the traditional Passover sacrifice of the Samaritans, and prayed in Hebrew and Arabic in parallel while they were  viewing Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
“It was very moving, joining us were Jews and Arabs from Samaria, from Itamar, from Shuafat, from Sur Baher, from Wadi Joz and from Ras al-Amud in East Jerusalem” shared Eliyahu McLean, who took part in the shared prayer. “There was also a group from the Bethlehem area and Ramallah, and we all traveled together to Mount Grizim; we learned about the Christmas holiday from a Catholic woman, about the meaning of light in Islam from a Muslim sheikh, and we Jews spoke about Hannukah”.
“This was a good opportunity for Palestinians, Israelis and Samaritans to meet and get to know one another; we spoke about if and how we can live together”, shared Arafat Abu-Ras, one of the worshippers who lives in the Shechem(Nablus) area. “We must live together in justice and equality. We said that before anything else, we need our own state and that there should be no separation between Gaza and the West Bank. Then we can speak about true peace between all the children of Adam (and Eve). We don’t exclude any religion, we all pray to the same God.”
Note from the Abrahamic Reunion: This Article was published in Yediot Acharonot a Hebrew-only newspaper, after the Abrahamic Reunion’s Peace Journey to Mt. Grizim in the West Bank, called the Mountain Of Blessing, which is sacred to the Samaritan people. Mt. Grizim is a “neutral” town within the West Bank where Israelis and Palestinians are free to visit together. It overlooks the ancient town of Nablus.