Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Ah ha moment on the Israeli-Palestinian border

31 Oct, 2022

By Brian Grim | Guest Post on our blog series, Authenticity & Connection.

Crossing the border, my guide (unprompted) articulated RFBF’s philosophy: Business as a vehicle for covenantal pluralism & peace

After going through the Israeli security wall from Jerusalem into Bethlehem, our group’s Israeli tour guide (below left) no longer had authority to operate. As he handed authority to our Palestinian tour guide (below right), he told me, “business together is really the way for us to prosper together in peace.”

His observation went deeper than just business because he, as a Jewish guide, had just shown us around Jerusalem with a deep understanding of Judaism, Islam and Christianity, representing each fairly and winsomely. And now, he passed us to a Palestinian Christian who showed how two people from somewhat different worlds and faiths can work together in a business venture because of that appreciation for each other and the other’s beliefs – a perfect model of what we call Covenantal Pluralism.

The next day I saw this approach institutionalized at the Peres Center for Innovation & Peace, founded in 1996 by the late Shimon Peres, a Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of Israel, which brings together Arabs and Jews into joint initiatives, ranging from soccer competitions to cutting edge innovative start-ups.

Below are pictures that I took at the Center: first, of Shimon Peres’ Nobel medal, and second, of a hologram of Dr. Kobi Richter, CTO of Medinol, an Israeli heart stint company. Richter was one of 12 innovators featured as interactive holograms sharing their innovation stories.

Richter with his wife, Dr. Judith Richter, CEO of Medinol, were friends of Peres, and are doing what the Peres Center promotes through the NIR School of the Heart, which helps high school students of all faiths from Jordan, Israel and Palestine to not only understand cardio-vascular career opportunities but also connect their hearts.

On Thursday, Judith and I, joined by JP Morgan Chase’s Jean Sung, will deliver an invited plenary address to the Global Wellness Summit on the value of faith to wellness. The global wellness industry is a $4.5 trillion sector covering everything from resorts and fitness to health and wellbeing products and services. This summit attracts the top CEOs working in this field from scores of countries around the world.

On Friday, I’ll be making my way to the far north of Israel, to the border with Lebanon. I’ve been to Lebanon several times, but this is the first to its neighbor, Israel. Having been on both sides of several borders, I’m left with hope that what unites can be stronger than what divides.

Prayerfully yours from Tel Aviv.