Reform rabbis join interfaith peace plea

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two Reform movement leaders joined an interfaith letter urging President-elect Barack Obama to make Middle East peace a priority.

The National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East, writing Dec. 4 to congratulate Obama on his election, asked him to continue the practice established during the Bush administration of regular meetings between the secretary of state and the group, which includes leading U.S. Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim clergy.

Among the seven signatories were Rabbi David Saperstein, the director of the Reform’s Religious Action Center, and Rabbi Peter Knobel, the president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. The interfaith group also includes Conservative and Reconstructionist rabbis.

"We have been united in urging concerted U.S. leadership since the founding of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative and have supported the current administration in its efforts over the past two years," the group’s letter said. "We believe it is essential that the leaders and people of Israel, the Palestinian territories and Arab states be assured that you intend to implement this priority with a sense of urgency following your Inauguration."

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