John Steiner: Re-embracing Abraham’s Path

John Steiner

In the footsteps and spirit of Abraham

William Ury is on a campaign to mark the path, which will run through several countries of the Middle East, an whose route will follow in the footsteps of the patriarch Abraham.

By Moshe Gilad

HAARETZ.com, 16 November 2011

EXTRACT:

The Abraham Path, which is now being marked, begins in Haran and meanders its way to the city Gaziantep. From there, it continues southward, crosses the border into Syria and wends its way to Aleppo. The path then moves south, passing through Damascus before crossing the border into the kingdom of Jordan and the city Amman. At that point it crosses over to Jericho in the Palestinian Authority, and then to Nablus, Jerusalem and Hebron, where Abraham was buried. Additional offshoots of the path follow Abraham’s journeys through Iraq and Israel.

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The route is approximately 1,200 kilometers long. The Harvard team is aware that very few people will ever hike its entire length, but in a telephone interview with Haaretz, Ury clarifies that the intent is to create among visitors to the Middle East a profound cultural experience and a familiarization with the local culture, the residents, the landscapes and the regional tradition. “Hospitality is one of the greatest legacies that our culture received from Abraham,” he says, “and when you hike or drive along the path, you feel it every day, in the best possible way.”

A tool for conflict resolution

Ury himself has twice travelled the entire route, from Haran to Hebron, and his travels have left in him a deep impression, he says. His great expertise is conflict and crisis resolution. Development of the Abraham Path is, in his opinion, a tool for resolution of the prolonged crisis in the Middle East.

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