The Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI) was launched in summer 2013 under the directorship of Imam Abdullah Antepli and Yossi Klein Halevi. The program invites North American Muslims to explore how Jews understand Judaism, Israel, and Jewish peoplehood. The program also encourages participants to experience how Palestinians, both inside and outside Israel, identify themselves, while exploring the issues of ethics, faith, and practice.
MLI seeks to expand participants' critical understanding of the complex religious, political, and socioeconomic issues facing people in Israel and Palestine. This is achieved through a rigorous academic curriculum and exposure to diverse narratives.
The program attracts emerging religious and intellectual Muslim leaders - including clergy, chaplains, journalists, academics, entrepreneurs, and cultural figures.
Conducted over the course of a 13-month period, the curriculum comprises an orientation session, two 12-day seminars held in Jerusalem during consecutive years, two mid-year retreats in North America, and monthly long-distance learning.
The MLI curriculum, entitled, Encountering Israel: Foundations of Peoplehood and Faith, is the same academic program provided by the Hartman Institute to rabbis, Jewish community leaders, and Christian leaders, with an added emphasis on exposure to the Palestinian community both inside and outside of Israel.
This program comprises three units that address different aspects of Judaism and Jewish life. It presents classical and contemporary sources that demonstrate how Judaism relates to peoplehood and land.
It also includes in-depth examination of the impact on the identity of both Jews and Palestinians through the lens of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Participants travel to various cities in the West Bank, as well as to northern Israeli Arab communities, where they interact with Muslim religious leaders, educators, students, and activists.
Hosted at the Hartman Institute's campus in Jerusalem, the program provides participants with the opportunity to visit religious and historic sites, as well as to engage with local residents of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faith traditions.
To forge deeper and more nuanced relationships between the Muslim and Jewish communities in North America, through an understanding of how Jews relate to religion, peoplehood, and Israel.
To advance the personal growth of participants by increasing their knowledge about Judaism, the Jewish people, and the complex realities of the region.