While common for rabbis, priests and imams to visit Jerusalem, the Holy City is not necessarily at the top of the mustdo list for Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Shinto, Jain and Confucian leaders.
But this might change if a unique conference for spiritual leaders of the eastern religions to be held in Jerusalem at the end of September is successful.
The Foreign Ministry and the American Jewish Committee are organizing the four -day conference for about a dozen spiritual leaders from East, South and Southeast Asia.
Akiva Tor, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s bureau for World Jewish Affairs and World Religions, said the idea is that such a dialogue will help underpin and support the blooming strategic political and economic ties currently developing between Israel and the countries of the East.
“When we deal with Arab or Christian states, we have a fairly deep understanding of the cultures we are relating to,” Tor said. “But when we have deep relations with countries like Japan, India, Burma or Vietnam, we have strong political and economic connections, we share strategic interests, but we don’t know each other in terms of our civilizations.