for CNN.com on Aug. 27, 2011
(CNN) - The Israeli ambassador to the United States hosted a dinner celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Thursday, marking the first time an ambassador from the Jewish state has hosted such a dinner in the United States, the embassy said.
Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren hosted the dinner at his residence, with about 65 guests in attendance, including imams, rabbis and officials from the White House, Congress and the State Department, according to Israeli Embassy spokesman Lior Weintraub.
Oren said the unusual dinner is fitting at a time when the future of the Middle East is uncertain, as the Arab Spring has unseated regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and as Libya appears poised on the brink of a revolution.
“We’re in the middle of a huge transition in the Middle East, and we see risks, but we also see opportunities there,” he said. “We want to be able to tell people in the Middle East what those opportunities are.”
“There’s a lot of misinformation about Israel, and we want to show we’re open to dialogue and reconciliation,” he said. “We can begin to build bridges on an interpersonal level.”
In remarks at the dinner, Oren cited the biblical Book of Psalms: "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity."
Read more: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/25/israeli-ambassador-to-u-s-hosts-ramadan-dinner/