The Chief Rabbinate of Israel on Thursday reacted to the election of Pope Francis I by highlighting his predecessors’ “rich and fruitful dialogue …with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel on primary issues such as banning terrorism in God’s Name, the sanctity of life and the sanctity of the family unit.”

The office of the Chief Rabbis said the dialogue led to Pope Benedict XVI “to heed the Chief Rabbinate’s request and suspend Holocaust-denier Bishop Richard Williamson, and the modification of sections of the Good Friday liturgy that were harsh and insulting towards the Jewish People.”

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The Rabbinate also noted statements by Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II that “Jews are the elder brothers, and even the parents, of Christian believers.”

They added that both popes joined the fight against anti-Semitism n Europe and elsewhere,

“The Chief Rabbinate of Israel is confident that Pope Francis, whose good relations with the Jewish People are well known, will keep the same spirit, and strengthen and develop the Roman Catholic Church’s connections with the State of Israel and the Jewish People,” the office of Israel’s two chief rabbis added.

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