The Religious Peace Initiative

Project Leader: Rabbi Shem-Tov Menachem; Years: 2012

In conjunction with the United Nations


As part of a United Nations project that recruited senior scholars to examine the reasons for the fact that a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has not yet been achieved, the scholars concluded that one of the reasons lies in the non-inclusion of key influential groups in Israeli society in the design of a suitable solution. An important and even crucial group that has never been part of the various processes, despites its status and influence over every future process and agreement, is the ultra-Orthodox sector.


The demographic growth of ultra-Orthodox society and that population’s growing political and social influence on the state and Israeli society as a whole require the formation of a religious program by the ultra-Orthodox sector itself that will propose ways to promote the peace process. The Religious Peace Initiative program brings together a group of twenty leading ultra-Orthodox rabbis to engage in in-depth study of the halakhic issues related to the peace process, to express in an organized and serious manner the halakhic views that support a diplomatic agreement that includes territorial concessions, and to produce a document strictly in keeping with Halakhah and Jewish sources that will constitute the halakhic basis for a future diplomatic agreement that includes concession of areas in the Land of Israel for the sake of achieving a sustainable peace between the two sides.