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Israel & Palestine: Can We Find Common Ground? GVSU Hosts Dialogue

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Can we find common ground between Israel and Palestine?  That’s a question that’s been asked for centuries as the two nations engage in what’s been called one of the most divisive political conflicts in the world. 

It’s rooted in the question of who owns that land in the Middle East.  That question will be discussed this week at an event sponsored by GVSU’s Kaufman Interfaith Institute. 

“The Israel-Palestine issue is one of the most controversial issues in international politics right now.”

That’s Doug Kindschi, director of Grand Valley State University’s Kaufman Interfaith Institute.  The Institute along with the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies is hosting a dialogue regarding an issue that Kindschi says has become very polarized.

“There are some that say there should be no discussion with Israel as long as they’re having settlements and the like, there are others who feel there are no reason to talk to Muslims, but the Kaufman Interfaith Institute is committed to bringing people together who may have differences around religion.”

And with that, Kindschi says they have two speakers, one from each side, willing to talk.

“And so while we don’t usually get into political issues, we had the opportunity to bring Donneil Hartman who is an orthodox rabbi who lives in Jerusalem and heads up the Shalom Hartman Institute along with  Adulah Antepli, who was the first Imam, the first Muslim chaplain at Duke University and they are actually dialoguing together, they have some programs they’re doing together ,they are willing to actually discuss openly between Muslims and Jews about this very controversial issue.”

Kindschi says they’ve very pleased to host this event with the Hauenstein Center, which often looks at the political piece of difficult issues looking for a “common ground.”

“They do the political part of it, we do the religious part of it to try to find this common ground. And what we hope to do is model for our community how this issue can be addresses without going to the extremes.”

Kindschi says the event is this Thursday at 7pm GVSU’s Loosemoore auditorium.  He says they’re expecting a large crowd and ask that you register in advance.  You can do so at Interfaithunderstanding.org

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.