Monday, May 12, 2008

Pope Receives Israeli Ambassador, Asks Israel to Aid Catholics

Pope Benedict XVI received Monday Israel's new Vatican ambassador, expressing the need for a 'just peace' to resolve the conflict between the Jewish state and the Palestinians:
Mordechay Lewy presented his credentials to the pontiff at a ceremony in the Vatican.

'The Holy See joins you in giving thanks to the Lord that the aspirations of the Jewish people for a home in the land of their fathers have been fulfilled, and hopes soon to see a time of even greater rejoicing when a just peace finally resolves the conflict with the Palestinians,' Benedict said.

The Vatican recognized Israel's 'legitimate need for security and self-defence', in the same way that it believed that all people should have a right to be given equal opportunities to flourish,' the pontiff told Lewy.

'Accordingly, I would urge your government to make every effort to alleviate the hardship suffered by the Palestinian community, allowing them the freedom necessary to go about their legitimate business, including travel to places of worship, so that they too can enjoy greater peace and security,' Benedict said.

The pontiff also offered his 'good wishes' for the 60th anniversary of the founding Israel which is being celebrated this year.

He also recalled the establishment in 1993 of diplomatic relations between Israel and the Vatican.

See also: Pope asks Israel to aid Catholics YNet News. May 12, 2008.