World First: Christian, Jewish, Muslim Groups in Joint Holy Land Visit
In what is being described as ‘a world first,’ the associations Beit Haverim (a gay and lesbian Jewish group in France), David and Jonathan (a Christian gay movement) and HM2F (gay Muslims in France) will jointly visit Israel and Palestine in November.
Organizers say, according to Christophe Martet writing in Yagg, that the aim of the visit is to meet and have dialogue with representatives of the three Abrahamic religions alongside expressing their solidarity with the local LGBT movements in Israel and Palestine.
The visit will take them from Jerusalem to Ramallah, as well as to Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, Jaffa and Abu Gosh, an Arab village near Jerusalem.
Franck, of Beit Haverim, tells Martet that the objective is not political but a dialogue in spirituality with local LGBT organizations.
Lotfi, of HM2F, says that the visit is about questioning the dogma that leads to discrimination against LGBT people.
The openly gay Mayor of Paris, Bertrand DelanoŽ, is supporting the visit (which is paid for by the 50 individuals participating). During an October 14 press conference, Pierre Schapira, the Mayor’s official responsible for International Relations, European Affairs and the Francophonie [French equivalent of the British Commonwealth], highlighted the particular context of this trip as being like no other and welcomed it
“You innovate and all forms of dialogue results,” he said.
The mayor of Paris’ tenth arrondissement [district], Remi Feraud, emphasized at the press conference that it showed the willingness of the different associations to gather experience and to enter into a dialogue with two societies so as to lift taboos.
Feraud said that together they will bring another view of this region — less caricatural and more optimistic.
Translation by F. Young