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Delegations of rabbis, Imams gather for interfaith conference in Morocco, emphasize need for Muslim-Jewish alliances and friendships after October 7.

A delegation of religious Zionist and haredi rabbis visited Morocco last week alongside a delegation of Imams for an event held in cooperation between the Blickle Institute for Interfaith Dialogue from the Or Torah Stone network and the Sharaka project, which works to promote deep friendships between citizens of the countries of the Abraham Accords.

The delegations published a joint statement that in the face of the events of October 7 and the ongoing fighting in Gaza, now more than ever they wish to forge alliances with each other to resolve the situation.

The group was accompanied by Faisal Marjani, who heads the Maroc Coexistence Association. The organizers of the delegation noted that the choice to hold the delegation in Morocco was made in light of its status as a beacon and role model for religious coexistence and as the Muslim country with the longest Jewish history in the world.

Further missions are expected to take place in the future, including one in the United Arab Emirates in the fall of 2024, and ongoing online learning sessions between rabbis and imams will continue to be held.

"The horrific events of October 7 gave the world a close encounter with the results of the weaponization of religion and the challenge this poses to global stability," the delegation's statement said, "We gather out of a shared commitment to foster true understanding and respectful dialogue between our Jewish and Muslim communities. The fighting in Gaza led to a surge in antisemitism around the world, while at the same time, Muslim communities also suffer from the consequences of Islamophobia. This situation creates a coalescence of interests for Jewish and Muslim religious leaders, and we believe that now more than ever, the time has come to make creative alliances with each other to resolve the situation."

"As a resident of the Gaza envelope and as someone who found himself as a combat medic in the heart of the fighting on the Black Sabbath and in the months that followed, it is important for me to make it clear that we are not naive and we fully understand where we live and the threats we face," said Rabbi Aharon Ariel Lavi, director of the Blickle Institute for Interfaith Dialogue and the son of a Jewish family from Marrakesh, Morocco. "But precisely out of this came the understanding that Iran and Hamas are trying to turn the local conflict into a global religious war in order to establish an Islamic caliphate. Our goal is to get out of our local conflict into the wider moderate Muslim world and mobilize it against this war."

"Declaring a religious war against Islam is in fact falling into the trap that radical elements set for us," added Rabbi Yaakov Negan, one of the most prominent rabbis in interfaith discourse in the world and director of the Ohr Torah Stone Institute for Interfaith Dialogue. "Whoever thinks he can declare war on the entire Muslim world, not only does he not understand the great complexity and the fact that the Muslim world is in a great internal struggle, but he is leading a way of thinking and a move that is dangerous for the Jewish people. This is a war that we really have no ability to handle."

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