A “Journey of Peace” led by Rabbi Yann Boissière in Israel and the West Bank

From June 13 to 21, the association Les Voix de la Paix and its president, the Parisian rabbi Yann Boissière, are organizing a trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

“Tolerance, respect, desire to understand the realities on the ground, openness… These common values ​​which bring us together within the Voices of Peace will be the key values ​​of this trip”, writes the association, which intends to bring together 120 people of all faiths. and cultures: Jews, Christians, Muslims, religious or non-religious.

The trip will take them from Ramallah to Jerusalem, passing through Bethlehem and all the way to Raanana, and “will strive to undo the clichés, those that prevent us from seeing the liveliness, creativity and positive energies of Israeli and Palestinian society”. .

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It is possible to register for the trip by email (camille.glas@lesvoixdelalapaix.fr) or telephone (06 07 13 20 15). Organized by the travel agency Joubert Voyages, the estimated price is approximately €2,500 in a double room in 4* hotels, half-board, with round-trip El Al flights from Paris to Tel Aviv, transfers, meetings and visits.

“At a time when certain political conceptions of religion are making a comeback, sometimes violently, within our societies, at a time when the turbulence of the world is exerting ever more severe economic pressure on our lives, and when various forms of racism have not disappeared within our societies, France tends to fragment and withdraw into ‘communities’ braced on ‘identities’ less and less attentive to the other. Determined to fight against this atomization of society, convinced that the diversity of identities and convictions is above all a wealth for the nation, and that secularism is our ideal framework to allow living together, the Voices of Peace, since their creation in 2016, develop a movement that fosters dialogue between religions, spiritualities and philosophical movements in the broadest sense, and the Republic, emphasizing its attribute of secularism,” writes Yann Boissière. “Among the recurring tensions that appear within this dialogue between people of goodwill, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict occupies a prominent place. This is an illegitimate ‘import of conflict’, we know that. Because we are neither ‘Israelis’ nor ‘Palestinians’ but French citizens. But it is a fact, the sympathy of one or the other towards such or such cause often carries the reason which should prevail in the debates. »

“The representations sometimes maintained by certain segments of ‘identity communities’ too often poison the debate of ideas, and divert the objective of a dialogue of fraternity, which in the first place should concern French society, where there is enough to do… When the religious prism is added to it, conversation often becomes impossible…”

“Faced with this situation, the Voices of Peace are driven by two convictions: – French people of Muslim, Jewish or Christian faith or culture are above all French citizens. There is an urgent need to refocus representations and dialogue on what we have in common, here, in French society. – The ‘inter-convictional’ dialogue, when it creates times of encounter, moments of fraternity or common actions, shatters the clichés. In other words, spiritualities, when they engage in the sense of dialogue and the peace they bring, are not the problem. On the contrary, they are part of the solution. »

“This is the reason why we propose a ‘journey of peace’, a trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories with two objectives: – To destroy clichés by virtue of direct testimony and shared experience. This demining can only be done by abandoning fantasies, and requires knowledge of the facts, the terrain and its actors. Faced with fake news of all kinds, far from the deadly clichés of news flashes, it will be a question of showing the reality and the liveliness of Israeli and Palestinian society. – Realize through a ‘group adventure’ the desire for dialogue, mutual understanding, shared knowledge. »

The association nevertheless specifies that it does not seek to become an “actor in the situation”.

“The solution to peace belongs to local actors and to them alone,” she writes. “We are not a lobby either, and that will not be our position. If there is an ‘action’ accomplished by the group, it is on ourselves that it will be exercised. Open up, transform, emerge enriched by contact with others, with a nuanced understanding of situations and issues. We will transform ourselves through this journey. To go there, to go there together, is to act here, in France, to embody the desire for fraternity, the mutual understanding of identities, within the broad framework of French citizenship and secularism. »

During the trip, visits and meetings, the emphasis will be on the factors of hope, possibilities, openings; the multiplicity and richness of approaches: political, economic, societal. But the emphasis will be placed above all on the spiritual dimension. But also the ‘new’, the seeds of the future, the men and projects that bet on trust. The actors met will embody factors of hope, far removed from short-term solutions. »

The trip, which will embody all sensitivities, will be supervised by four “religious referents”: – for Islam: Ghaleb Bencheikh, president of the Fondation de l’islam de France; for Christianity: Brother Louis-Marie Coudray, Director of the National Service for Relations with Judaism from 2016 to 2019, Superior of the Abbey of Abou Gosh; for Judaism: Yann Boissière, rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Movement of France and JeM (Judaisme en mouvement).

Times of common prayers and exchanges will be planned within the group, and specialized guides, whose profiles will be balanced in terms of sensitivity, will guide the meetings.

The complete program, subject to modifications, is available on the Voices of Peace website.

A “Journey of Peace” led by Rabbi Yann Boissière in Israel and the West Bank