Insider Religious Mediators - Advancing the Religious Peace Initiative (RPI)

bullseyeProgram goal

Insider Religious Mediation Program – to promote the Religious Initiative for Peace, connects religious leaders from different religions so that they can mediate and save lives in times of crisis, and bring hearts together between their communities during routine.

partnersStrategic partners

The Adam Center for Interreligious Dialogue, Kafr Qasim

document The Development of the Model in Mosaica

Mediation is not necessarily a new concept.  Traditional and religious models of mediation exist in every healthy culture, which consist of a collective responsibility.  Such is the case in Arab culture with the sulha model, or the schmagluchs in the Ethiopian Jewish community, or “metavkhei shalom” (mediators of peace) or “rodfei shalom” (pursuers of peace) in Jewish communities, in the past.  These mediators were generally considered well respected community members, predominantly older men already operating as community leaders or religious leaders, who possess close and trusting relationships with various individuals and groups within the community.   The “insider mediation” model focuses primarily on ethno-religious conflicts that seem intractable and require the active involvement of religious leaders as “insider mediators,” working with external, neutral, and professional mediators or diplomats.

 

In 2007, the Religious Peace Initiative was established by Mosaica president, Rabbi Michael Melchior, previously a member of Knesset and deputy minister in the Israeli Government, together with his late partner, Sheikh Abdallah Nimer Darwish (1948-2017), founder of the Islamic Movement in Israel and president of the Adam Center for Interreligious Dialogue. The RPI aims to promote “warm” religious peace between communities, cultures, and religions that is based on shared religious values, such as the value of human life.   Until 2014, the RPI was managed by Gita Hazani and between 2015-2018, by Roie Ravitzky.  In 2019, Rabbi Dr. Daniel Roth was appointed deputy executive director of Mosaica and director of the Religious Peace Initiative.

 

Since its founding, The RPI has established a network of senior religious leaders (primarily Jewish and Muslim) who cooperate as “insider religious mediators” both within Israel, the Palestinian Territories, the Middle East and beyond.  Most program activities are conducted behind the scenes and away from media coverage.

However, over the years some of the interventions of the leaders involved in the program have been made public:

In September 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mosaica insider religious mediators mediated between religious leaders and the WHO/Europe in order to reject a conspiracy theory about Covid-19. This led to Mosaica receiving the support of the WHO/Europe Solidarity Fund, to establish the Kavod/Karama/Dignity project that brings together senior Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders together with health professionals from Israel to meet the religious and community challenges of the pandemic.

toolsApplication of the Model

The “Internal Religious Mediators” program – for the promotion of the “Religious Initiative for Peace” is constantly working to prevent and manage crises, both at the international and national level and at the community level, especially in mixed areas in the country. As mentioned, the vast majority of the activity is done away from the eyes of the media.

 

To read more about internal religious mediators to promote the religious initiative for peace, click here

toolsImplementation of The Model

The Religious Peace Initiative constantly is working behind the scenes to prevent and manage crisis situations, whether they be international, national or community level, and in particular in mixed Jewish-Arab areas.

For more information, contact

daniel@mosaica.org.il

teamProgram staff

As the director of The Religious Peace Initiative (RPI), I oversee a network of ‘insider religious mediators’ advancing both religious peace and mitigating crisis-situations. I also work to connect religious leaders to the tens of ‘community mediation and dialogue centers’ throughout Israel that Mosaica’s Gishurim Program supports, through the “Rabbis as Mediators Program” and the “Sheikhs as Mediators Program.” In addition to my work at Mosaica, I am a core faculty member at Bar-Ilan University’s Graduate Program for Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation and at Tel Aviv University’s International Program in Conflict Resolution and Mediation. I teach graduate courses on religious peacebuilding and supervises graduate students. I am also a regular lecturer for MEJDI Tours/National Geographic. My book Third-party Peacemakers in Judaism: Text, Theory, and Practice was published by Oxford University Press in Spring 2021.
I earned a Ph.D. from Bar-Ilan University’s Graduate Program for Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation, a MA in Talmud from Hebrew University, a B. Ed in Jewish Philosophy from Herzog Teachers’ College, and studied for eight years in Yeshivat Har-Etzion, during which time I received Orthodox rabbinic ordination. I served as a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. Before joining Mosaica, I was the founder and director of the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution, the Mahloket Matters Projects and the 9Adar: Jewish Week of Constructive Conflict (known in Israel as Dibur Hadash: Israeli Week of Mediation and Dialogue).

I received my PhD in International Relations from the University of California in 2018. I earned a Master’s degree in Management and Educational Pedagogy from the Center of Academic Studies in 2010 and a Master’s Degree from Bar-Ilan University in Arabic and Islamic History in 2003. I received my BA from Bar-Ilan University in 2000 in Arabic.
In 2012, I became the principle of a high school in Kafr Qasim. I also serve as the Imam of a central mosque in Kafr Qasim, I am a member of the Sulha council in Kafr Qasim and I serve as a mediator on the Sharia court. I have over 35 years of experience in education. I served as the principle of the Alhuda high school in Ramle and also served as a lecturer and pedagogic advisor at Beit Brill College and Achva Academic College.
Lastly, I am one of the first religious singers who founded an Islamic band. It is called “alsrat” (the straight path).

I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Arabic and Political Science from Tel Aviv University. At Mosaica, I am responsible for research focusing on religious leaders that participate in the Insider Religious Mediation program, studies conducted in collaboration with Bar-Ilan University.
A hallmark of the Mosaica approach is the constant integration between field work and academic research, enabling Mosaica to develop a model for interreligious mediation among different communities, a process so sensitive that it is often carried out behind the scenes.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in both Psychology and Jewish Studies from Ohio State University. I am currently earning my Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution, Management, and Negotiation at Bar-Ilan University.
A key part of my role is identifying relevant partners abroad, maintaining close ties with them, and creating strategic and productive avenues for cooperation that benefit Mosaica and our partners alike.
I grew up in Ohio, USA. In 2016, after completing my bachelor’s degree, I participated in the Yahel Social Change Fellowship Program. I taught children English and volunteered at Tebeka, an NGO in Rishon LeTsiyon.
I am married to Elchanan and we live in Jerusalem with our adorable dog. I love to travel, go on hikes and cook when I do not have to wash the dishes.

I hold a BA and MA in Jewish Education from Herzog Teacher’s College and am a doctoral student in Education at Cordova University in Spain. My research focuses on the religious identity formation of teenagers.
In addition to my role at Mosaica, I am a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University’s Institute for Advanced Torah Studies and supervise the doctoral students program within the Institute. In addition, I am a lecturer at Orot Israel College and oversee the Educators’ track. I have over 15 years of experience engaging in social initiatives and community building. Between 2011-2018, I founded and directed the Bnei Akiva Youth Group’s Graduates Program. I helped to establish tens of student villages and young communities and advocated for governmental regulation on the matter. In addition, I have been part of various initiatives which deal with building bridges between the various sectors within Israeli society. In this context, between 2015 – 2018, I served as the head of MAKOM, the council of ‘mission oriented’ groups and communities.

ס. שר החוץ (1999 – 2008) ויו”ר ועדת החינוך (2005). כיום, פועל לקידום חזון חברתי לישראל בתחומי חינוך, דו-קיום ופיוס בין יהודים לערבים, הגנה על הסביבה וקשרי ישראל ויהדות התפוצות.

הרב מלכיאור מהוגי ויוזמי הפסגה הבינדתית הראשונה במזרח התיכון שהתקיימה באלכסנדריה (2002). כיום נתפס הרב מלכיאור בזירה הבינלאומית והישראלית כאחד השחקנים המרכזיים בשדה הדיפלומטיה הבינדתית הפועלת להביא לשינוי בשיח בין העולם היהודי והעולם המוסלמי.

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