Israeli rabbis ask Pope to condemn anti-Semites

16th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

16 September 2005, CASTEL GANDOLFO, ITALY - Israel's two chief rabbis Thursday asked Pope Benedict XVI to condemn all forms of anti-Semitism and invited the head of Catholicism to Jerusalem during a meeting at the pontiff's summer residence.

16 September 2005

CASTEL GANDOLFO, ITALY - Israel's two chief rabbis Thursday asked Pope Benedict XVI to condemn all forms of anti-Semitism and invited the head of Catholicism to Jerusalem during a meeting at the pontiff's summer residence.

The meeting at Castel Gandolfo, a lake-side town near Rome, was described as "very friendly" by Israel's Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Yona Metzger, and the Sephardic chief rabbi, Shlomo Moshe Amar.

The two religious leaders said they had asked the pope to speak out against the destruction of synagogues in the Gaza Strip and called on the Roman Catholic Church to set aside a special date in which Catholics would be invited to condemn all forms of anti- Semitism.

Thursday's meeting was part of celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of a historic document with which the Vatican put an end to long-standing anti-Jewish prejudices within the Roman Catholic Church.

The Nostra Aetate declaration, approved by an assembly of bishops on October 28, 1965, called on the Church to stop blaming Jews for the death of Jesus Christ and invited Catholics not to discriminate others on the basis of race or religion.

The Vatican did not provide any details of the meeting and did not immediately comment on the papal invitation to Israel. Israel's Ambassador to the Holy See, Oded Ben Hur, would neither confirm nor deny suggestions that the papal trip could take place within the year.

The rabbi's invite follows a similar one made on July 6 by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Relations between Israel and the Vatican had suffered a brief setback days later when the pope failed to include Israel on a list of countries that had fallen victim of terrorism. Ambassador Ben Hur has since said Israel was ready to move on.

Pope Benedict has made inter-religious dialogue one of the priorities of his pontificate and in August made a historically- charged visit to Cologne's synagogue during a trip to his homeland of Germany.

DPA

Subject: German news

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