An interreligious Thanksgiving feast in Israel

TEL AVIV, Israel (CNS) — As interreligious and political tensions escalated in Israel, especially in Jerusalem, more than 80 Jews, Christians and Muslims gathered at the home of a U.S. diplomat to celebrate an American tradition: Thanksgiving.

Ambassador Moshe Arens, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., speaks with Sheik Abdulsalam Manasra during an interfaith Thanksgiving dinner sponsored by U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv Nov. 20. (CNS/David Azagury)

Ambassador Moshe Arens, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., speaks with Sheik Abdulsalam Manasra during an interfaith Thanksgiving dinner sponsored by U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv Nov. 20. (CNS/David Azagury)

Deputy Chief of Mission William Grant hosted the Nov. 20 event and highlighted the many initiatives working for increased dialogue and tolerance within Israel. He told those present they must stand against anyone who blindly targets members of a particular religious, racial or ethnic group.

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars,” he said, quoting the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Each guest’s place setting included a little information about the American feast of Thanksgiving.

Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders gave traditional blessings before the meal.

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv sponsored an interfaith Thanksgiving meal at the  of William Grant, deputy chief of mission, left. Representatives of three religions said a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing over the food before some 80 guests sat down to eat. Next to Grant are Fadoul Mazzawi, a Christian minister; Rabbi Menachem Shem Tov; Sheik Ghassan Manasra. (CNS/David Azagury)

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv sponsored an interfaith Thanksgiving meal at the home of William Grant, deputy chief of mission, left. Representatives of three religions said a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing over the food before some 80 guests sat down to eat. Next to Grant are Fadoul Mazzawi, a Christian minister; Rabbi Menachem Shem Tov; Sheik Ghassan Manasra. (CNS/David Azagury)

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