Saturday, November 13, 2010

Faiths Unite To Pray For Rain In Holy Land

Jews, Christians and Muslims have united in the Holy Land to pray for rain.

An unusually dry autumn has left Israel and the Palestinian territories perilously parched.

Authorities are deeply concerned about the impact on water supplies and agriculture, after years of insufficient rainfall. Forecasters expect another dry winter.

So, imams, rabbis and priests gathered in the West Bank village of Walaja to hold the unusual ceremony.

On a dry, dusty hillside overlooking the outskirts of Jerusalem they bowed and chanted prayers, each calling on their own Almighty to end the drought.

After the ceremony they sowed the land with wheat.

They were called together by a group of pacifist Jewish settlers called Eretz Shalom, (land of peace), that claims to promote moderation among fellow settlers and Palestinians.

Walaja has been the focus of recent protest by Palestinians and Israeli and international peace activists.

The village of a few thousand Palestinians is being almost completely enclosed by Israel’s controversial security barrier.

The picturesque hillside is being scarred by Israeli construction work erecting the barrier.

When it is complete villagers will be cut off from some of their land and links with Jerusalem will be severed.

This week’s rain ceremony was a rare moment of solidarity in this troubled part of the world.