JERUSAELEM - Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the Indonesian Muslim Organization “Nahdlatul Ulama,” said Wednesday at a forum of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, which operates under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress, “There can only be peace when there is rachma—an Islamic term that means compassion. Jews call it rachmanut but it is the same thing."
"In the classical orthodoxy of Islam there is a view to treat non-Muslims with enmity. And many Muslims still think that way," the Muslim cleric said. His talk, "Shifting the Geopolitical Calculus: From Conflict to Cooperation," was moderated by Dr. Nir Boms, an ICFR Board Member and Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center Tel Aviv University, and a member of the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps, and was attended by a capacity audience at the David Amar Worldwide North Africa Jewish Heritage Center.
The General Secretary said, “Before you can enable cooperation, each side needs confidence. How can Israel be confident of its security if someone over the border keeps sending rockets? How can Palestinians feel confident when they feel so weak?"
Muslims and Jews, he said, must put aside mutual suspicions in order to achieve peace.
Commenting on the fierce reaction in his home country to his visit to Israel, he declared, “There is an explosion of controversy back home over my visit here. What I have done has triggered a dynamic discourse in Indonesia." Indonesia, he added, is in a perfect position to do something for peace, but that takes courage.