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Pope Francis in Israel

 

Pope Francis

Pope Francis



May 25, 2014

Pope Francis in Israel

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks, today (Sunday, 25 May 2014), at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

“We welcome the arrival of Pope Francis to the Land of Israel (), the Holy Land. His visit here is an opportunity to show the world the true Israel, the advanced, modern and tolerant Israel, in effect, the only country in the Middle East that ensures complete freedom of worship to those of all faiths, guards the holy places and ensures the rights of all – Jews, Muslims, Christians, everybody.

We appreciate the Pope’s strong stand against anti-Semitism, especially in light of the surging Jew hatred that we have witnessed in recent days. Last’s night’s murder in Brussels () is the result of constant incitement against the State of Israel by various elements in the Middle East and in Europe itself.

The following is part of the speech by the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, at the State Welcome Reception for Pope Francis:

Your Holiness,

You have arrived in the State of Israel where today members of different religions and nationalities live together – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druse and Circassians.

Israel is a Jewish and democratic state where coexistence in peace is implemented, and a state that aspires for peace with all its neighbors. Even if peace calls for sacrifices, the sacrifices of peace are preferable to the threat of war. Our hand is stretched out in peace and will continue to be stretched out in peace, and we shall seek the right path to achieve it.

Israel is a state in which there is no religious coercion or anti-religious outlooks, and where the right to freedom of religion is respected. We are responsible for its implementation, and we shall not allow anyone to violate this commitment.

We take pride in this pluralistic nature of our society, which respects all its citizens, regardless of religion and nationality.

You bring with you great tidings and hope for all. You carry a message of brotherhood among peoples, and friendship for all. Nothing enriches more than love of humanity. Indeed, our Sages taught us that only love will build Jerusalem. You bring inspiration. A call to choose values over assets, generosity over envy, goodwill over power.

…..

Welcome to the Eternal City, the city of justice and peace. May they yield their fruit soon. Salve in Terra Sancta.

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