Religion and Peace Conference
Religion and Peace Conference Yoni Kempinski

A special conference was held in Israel this past week on the subject of “Religion and Peace: Peace in Monotheistic Traditions.”

The conference was initiated by the International Organization for Comparative Ecclesiastical History (CIHEC), an international academic organization which brings together scholars of history and theology, mainly in Europe and the U.S.  It included discussions about Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

The conference was co-sponsored by Bar Ilan University, the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, and Haifa University.

“[CIHEC] holds a conference in a different country each year and they decided last May to come to Israel this time,” Prof. Yvonne Friedman of the department of General History at Bar Ilan University told INN TV.

Prof. Friedman said she was pleased with the organization’s decision to hold the conference in Israel this year in light of the academic boycotts on Israel in recent years. While she noted that two delegates chose not attend the conference because of the same boycotts, “all the others came and I hope they enjoyed their time here.”

As for the subject of the conference, Prof. Friedman explained that it dealt with the role religion plays in seeking peace.

“There has been too much research and talk about religion and war,” she said. “Undoubtedly that is true, but I also think that there ought to be research about religion and peace.”

She acknowledged the fact that monotheistic religions each believe that they represent peace and the others are warmongers, but noted that “there is and has been a part to take in negotiations and in promoting peace by religious institutions, and I think this is a topic that has been under research.

“Of course peace is done by political entities, by states,” she added, “but religion can influence state and can promote trends of peace, so it is an important historical factor.”