Interfaith Sages Council Established for Jerusalem

Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski declared that a local Sages Council will soon be established, comprised of religious and secular leaders representing the three predominant monotheistic faiths.

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Nissan Ratzlav-Katz, | updated: 01:00

Making the announcement during a municipality reception this week marking the new year of 2007, Mayor Lupolianski explained that the council's role will be to improve and enhance the lives of the people of Jerusalem, to create dialogue and understanding between Jews, Muslims and Christians, and to overcome boundaries for all those living in the city.

"The council will ignore the so-called 'large, international politics,' which often works in the name of anonymous interests, with no regard for the people living in Jerusalem," Lupolianski said. "The council will set an example for peaceful co-existence and will enable us all to overcome difficulties, solve disputes, get to know each other better and share the vast knowledge we've all accumulated, all for one common goal - the [welfare of the] city of Jerusalem and its residents."

Sages Councils such as that announced by the mayor were common in several cities long ago. Their role was to consolidate ideas for the improvement of their respective cities.

Mayor Lupolianski came up with the idea to create such a council in Jerusalem following meetings he held with Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders from various denominations. One of the topics raised in those meetings was the lack of direct dialogue between the various communities populating the city, which is one of the most diverse in the world. Sometimes, people who live just a few feet from one another needed a mediator in order to communicate, municipality spokesman Gideon Schmerling said. This lack of dialogue is one of the reasons Schmerling noted for tensions flaring occasionally between the various religious and ethnic denominations, with Mayor Lupolianski often called in to mediate.

In light of this reality, Lupolianski believes that regular meetings of the council, several times a year, will promote inter-cultural dialogue and improve the quality of life for all the people of Jerusalem.