BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed an initiative by the Latin American branch of the World Jewish Congress to organize a joint Ramadan break-fast meal with the Jewish and Palestinian Muslim communities in Buenos Aires.
Abbas expressed his agreement in a letter to Claudio Epelman, the executive director of the group’s Latin American affiliate.
“We welcome your initiative on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan to organize a joint Iftar with the Jewish and Palestinian Muslim communities at the office of the Latin American Jewish Congress in Buenos Aires,” Abbas wrote in a letter in Arabic.
The Palestinian leader added that he “encourage[s] these types of noble initiatives that contribute to the promotion of dialogue and links between cultures and religions. We have made several contributions in this area; I always make contact with Jewish communities in all parts of the world.”
The Latin American affiliate has organized a Ramadan celebration for the past three years, inviting members of the local Muslim community to break the fast in a traditional meal together with members of the Jewish community.
Abbas concluded: “I wish you success in this noble mission, which will surely contribute to the construction of bridges of peace and the consolidation of tolerance and coexistence.”
Epelman in a statement Tuesday responding to the Abbas letter sent in late May said it was “greatly satisfying when, rather than importing conflict, we are able to export the idea of coexistence as a tool for building peace.”
“We hope that this model of relations between Jews and Muslims that we are seeing today in Argentina can serve as an example for more communities in this region, and we look forward to seeing this message of coexistence extend beyond Latin America to the rest of the world,” he said.
In 2014, the Latin American affiliate organized a pilgrimage to Israel for Jews, Muslims and Catholics.