Hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians Decide to End their Fasts Together


break-fastBy Anav Silverman

As 122 Gaza rockets struck Israel yesterday, hundreds of observant Muslims and observant Jews across Israel united to break their mutual fast day together. The events brought the people of the two different faiths together, as the Jewish fast of the 17th of Tammuz, commemorating the Roman breach of Jerusalem’s walls, fell during the Muslim fast of the month of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam. Thirteen breaking-fast gatherings were held across Israel.

The events, which were part of a global movement of interfaith break-fasts for the 18th day of Ramadan and 17th of Tammuz, were led and organized by a group called ‘Choose Life.’ Over 32 events, promoted on the group’s Facebook page that had Hebrew, English and Arabic translations of the event’s name, took place internationally in mosques, synagogues, and community centers on June 15. Cities such as London, Paris and Kuwait City, as well as across the United States in cities New York, Austin and Cleveland all took part in the interfaith gatherings.

In Israel, joint end-of-fast events featuring joint prayer and study sessions were held in Eilat, Be’er Sheva, Yerucham, Kibbutz Ein Dor, the Gush Etzion Junction, Yeshivat Otniel in the south Hebron Hills and in Jerusalem.

The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development and Jerusalem Peacemakers co-organized one event out of three break-fast gatherings held in Israel’s capital, featuring joint study sessions and vegetarian food. Over 100 people attended the break-fast event held on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion at the Jerusalem Inter Cultural Center. Rabbis and sheikhs imparted words of blessing to an audience of over 100 people.

Rabbi Yonathan Neril, founder and director of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, stated to the audience that: “This gathering empowers the children of Abraham– Jews, Muslims, and Christians– to come together in the holy city of Jerusalem and see the humanity in the ‘other’.

“It’s not about us vs. them. It’s about us and them, about how we can live together in one land,” said Rabbi Neril.

Palestinian Muslim, Sheikh Haj Ibrahim Abu El Hawa, co-founder of Jerusalem Peacemakers with director Eliyahu McLean, believes that the joint break-fast event carries an important message. “The new generation needs to carry the message of how we can live together, because we are not born with signs over our heads that say we are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, or Buddhist. We are all one,” said Abu El Hawa.

“Let the world know that there are Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, and Muslims in Jerusalem and all over the land that do not buy into the narrative that we are enemies, that we have to hate each other, that we have to be at war with one another. We actually see things differently,” concluded McLean.

Tazpit News Agency

{ Israel}


  1. This is absolutely disgusting. Is matzav promoting such activities? Do you think this is really what Hashem wants us to be doing at this time? This is such garbage. The muslim religion is based upon killing The Jewish People. When will the world realize that? They dont want to live together with us; they want our land and they want all of it!

  2. In light of the current situation this is pure shtus; what’s even more shocking is that Matzav is reporting this. Do you really think we who care so deeply for acheinu Bais Yisroel are interested in reading this?!

  3. A break-the-fast “Kumbaya” media event. What will they think of next?

    So, what happens after the Ramadan? Think they be breaking bread together again after Tisha B’Av, too??

    Think again…

  4. there’s something very wrong with this. the only mitzvah that the muslims keep diligently is eisav sonei yistroel. how dare anyone equate shiv’ah asar b’tamuz with Ramadan. think for a moment about why we fast on that day and then explain how you can sit down to eat with our enemies

  5. What are we fasting about? that the beis Hamikdash should be built where that mosque stands. How do we end our fast with the children of those that killed our ancestors as they were marched out of Jerusalem? You remember the medrash: the thirsty Jews asked the Yishmaeilim for water and they blew air into their insides with their empty canteens. Let them die of thirst with their meaningless fast.

  6. People! The daf yomi was just on Taanis. Our fasts are nothing like the replaced “comfortable” or easily digested view of the naive secularists. We really should all know better at this time.
    Yes, its nice we all want to Kumbaya together, but this is not how to do it.
    What’s that saying about lying down with dogs?…..

  7. Rabbi Neril is a talmid of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin who runs a yeshiva program for women in which they learn gemara and is an advocate for more participation for women in religious services.

  8. #1 – the Muslim religion is not “based upon killing Jewish people.” In fact, until a hundred years ago, when England and France started playing off religious and ethnic groups n the Middle East against each other, Jews in Muslim lands were treated comparatively better than those in Europe – not wonderfully, but not murdered the way the Russian pogroms were killing. Traditional Islam recognized both Jews and Christians as “people of the Book” and gave them semi-autonomous status. The current situation is of modern origin, and in fact was fueled for a long time by the Soviet Union’s Cold War with the United States, which used smaller countries as pawns. Now there are other powers, e.g. Iran, playing the same game with innocent people’s lives – Jews and Muslims. Try getting some history books out of your local library – you find find it informative.