In an unusual eating event, Israel and Arab leaders broke bread together at a dinner arranged by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Ban hosted a two day conference which focused on promoting global dialogue about religion, cultures and common values. The UN leader refused to discuss seating arrangements and made clear he was not arranging discussions, but hopefully spending time together in conversation might eventually result in future discussions between opposing groups. Ban hoped “their participation in the meetings and through this social-diplomatic gathering they will be able to promote better understanding.”
The idea for the conference came from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, which is somewhat strange given his nation does not afford religious freedom to all people living in the realm. Human Rights Watch urged participants to push King Abdullah to deal with his own nation as well as helping other countries of the world attain religious tolerance.