Indonesian Delegation Meets With Israeli Embassy in Singapore

Indonesian Delegation Meets With Israeli Embassy in Singapore

A delegation of six members from the RAHIM organization traveled from Indonesia to Singapore as the first practical step towards initiating a relationship with the Embassy of Israel in Singapore represented by Israeli Ambassador Eli Vered Hazan, and the Israeli Deputy Chief of Mission Hila Rose Fridman. The meeting ended with the presentation of the book, Universal Ethics: Noah’s Ocean of Wisdom which was translated by RAHIM, the gifting of the Charter of RAHIM’s Declaration of Peace for the world, and the giving of RAHIM’s Organizational Profile. The visit, organized by Elisheva Stross lasted from August 12-16.

This trip was intended for RAHIM to carry out research and observations on building a relationship based on tolerance between religions in the world, beginning with a relationship between Islam and Judaism. The delegation discussed the nature of the relationship between Palestinians and Israel as part of the subject.

RAHIM delegates that went on this trip were led by Leo Agustinus Yuwono and consisted of K.H. Mukti Ali Qusyairi, K.H. Zainul Maarif, K.H. Asnawi Ridwan, K.H. Roland Gunawan, and Yohannes Elias. The delegates of RAHIM met with the Jewish community in Singapore, represented by the Chief Rabbi of Singapore, Rabbi Mordecai Aberge.

Picture: Delegates of RAHIM with the Chief Rabbi Singapura, Rabbi Mordecai Abergel.

The Rahim Foundation: The Ibrahim Heritage Study Center For Peace was launched last year to engage in research and studies on peace and conflict resolution, both on a global and local scale. The founders believe that given the growing conflicts in the world, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the unresolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict, more initiatives focusing on conflict resolution are needed. 

The Rahim Foundation was formed by a coalition of Indonesian Muslims, Jews, and Noahides. hides, including members of the Lembaga Bahtsul Masail Nahdlatul Ulama (LBM NU), the steering committee of Nahdlatul Ulama. The NU is the largest Muslim organization in the world, with approximately 140 million members from Indonesian Muslim society.

Rahim is the outgrowth of a program initiated by Elisheva Stross, who, more than one year ago, founded  Eits Chaim Indonesia. This Indonesian Jewish organization promotes a better understanding of Judaism and the Land of Israel to Indonesians through an educational radio program.

Stross, who is originally from Indonesia but converted to Judaism and lives in Israel, related the remarkable story behind the initiative:

“In the final stages of Trump’s presidency, he offered incentives to the Indonesian government to establish ties with Israel as an extension of the Abraham Accords,” Stross said. The government did not move forward at that time, but they took note that many Muslim nations were normalizing relations with Israel.  

Muslim Indonesia has no ties to Israel.

It should be emphasized that there are currently no formal diplomatic ties between Israel and Indonesia, although they maintain quiet trade, tourism, and security contacts. In 2012, Indonesia spoke of upgrading relations with Israel and opening a consulate, but this agreement was never implemented. According to a 2017 BBC World Service Poll, 64% of Indonesians viewed Israel’s influence negatively, compared to only 9% expressing a positive view.

Religion seems to be the reason for this divide, as Islam is the largest religion in Indonesia, with 86.7% of the Indonesian population identifying themselves as Muslim. Indonesia is the most populous Muslim-majority country, with approximately 231 million adherents and the world’s third-largest democracy.

The government regulates religion in Indonesia. Indonesian Jews face the challenge of declaring a religion on their government ID cards which every citizen must carry. The ID includes the holder’s religion, and Indonesia only recognizes six religions, none of which is Judaism. Reportedly, many Jews who have registered a religion have registered as Christians.

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