web analytics
May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Controversy Abounds During Pope’s Visit To Israel


JERUSALEM – Coming as a self-described “pilgrim of peace,” Pope Benedict XVI vowed to fight anti-Semitism and called for a Palestinian state in the moments after his arrival in Israel for a five-day visit.


But controversy marked the visit this week from the start, as the pope’s supposedly non-political trip abounded with politics and his hosts in Israel and the Palestinian Authority parsed his words with nearly Talmudic precision eyeing support for their positions.


On Monday, his first day in Israel, the pope was criticized for not being contrite enough about the Holocaust on behalf of the Catholic Church. Later he cut short an interfaith meeting of clergy after a Palestinian Muslim cleric launched a surprise attack on Israel during an impromptu address.


“I come, like so many others before me, to pray at the holy places, to pray especially for peace – peace here in the Holy Land, and peace throughout the world,” Benedict said Monday morning during a welcoming ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport, where he was met by President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Benedict would repeat that desire for peace and interfaith dialogue in every appearance in the early days of his trip, which the Vatican insisted is non-political.


But his visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial, sparked criticism by former Israeli Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who greeted the pontiff at the museum.


“I am deeply grateful to God and to you for the opportunity to stand here in silence: a silence to remember, a silence to pray, a silence to hope,” the pope said.


The cry of those killed “echoes in our hearts. It is a cry raised against every act of injustice and violence. It is a perpetual reproach against the spilling of innocent blood.”


Following the visit, in which the pope did not enter the actual museum due to an exhibit that offers an unflattering portrayal of Pope Pius XII, who has been accused of being silent in the face of Nazi atrocities against the Jews during World War II, Lau criticized the pope’s speech in an interview on Israel’s Channel 1.


Lau, a survivor of Buchenwald who serves as the chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, lamented that while Benedict’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II, in his address at the museum nine years ago offered a moving personal expression of grief, the current pope did not go that far, instead offering the Church’s “deep compassion” for those killed in the Holocaust.


“I personally missed hearing a tone of sharing the grief,” Lau said. “I missed hearing ‘I’m sorry, I apologize.’ “


Lau also pointed out that the pontiff, who is German by birth and was a member of the Hitler Youth, did not mention the Germans, or Nazis, as those who carried out the genocide, and used the word “killed” instead of “murdered” to describe how the Jews died.


And, he added, the pope never said that 6 million were killed, saying only “millions.”


Rivlin also criticized the pope.


“With all due respect to the Holy See, we cannot ignore the burden he bears, as a young German who joined the Hitler Youth and as a person who joined Hitler’s army, which was an instrument in the extermination,” he said Tuesday on Israel Radio.


Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi fired back Tuesday, noting that the pope has denounced the Nazis and spoken of his German heritage in previous speeches, including during a visit to the Auschwitz death camp, and used the six million figure during his remarks upon arriving in Israel.


Lombardi also said four times that the pope never served in the Hitler Youth, whose members were volunteers, but that he was forced to join anti-aircraft troops against Allied aerial raids near his hometown.


The pope stopped an interfaith conference in Jerusalem after the head of the Palestinian sharia court accused Israel of killing women and children and urged the pope “in the name of the one God to condemn these crimes and press the Israeli government to halt its aggression against the Palestinian people.”


“We hope that such an incident will not damage the mission of the pope aiming at promoting peace and also interreligious dialogue, as he has clearly affirmed in many occasions during this pilgrimage,” a papal spokesman said. “We hope also that interreligious dialogue in the Holy Land will not be compromised by this incident.”


During a brief visit Tuesday to the Western Wall, the pope placed a handwritten personal prayer between the stones of the wall asking God to “send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East, upon the entire human family,” according to a text released by the Office of the Holy See.


Following his quiet reflection at the wall, the pope made a courtesy visit at the compound to the chief rabbis of Israel.  He had made a similar visit to the grand mufti of Jerusalem before his wall appearance.


The pope, who traveled with a 40-person staff and 70 reporters, and stayed at the papal nuncio’s residence in Jerusalem during his visit, was scheduled to visit a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem on Wednesday and Nazareth on Thursday. He was to fly back to Rome Friday afternoon on a special El Al flight.


Upon the pope’s arrival, “Operation White Robe,” which included 80,000 police officers and security guards, went into effect to protect his safety.


The pope arrived in Israel after spending two days in Jordan, where he celebrated Mass before an estimated audience of 25,000 in a soccer stadium in Amman.


On Saturday he visited Mount Nebo, from where the Bible says Moses saw the Land of Israel. The pope said the site was a reminder of “the inseparable bond between the Church and the Jewish people.”


Benedict also visited the King Hussein bin Talal Mosque in Amman. He did not remove his shoes while visiting the mosque and engaged in silent reflection rather than prayer, according to reports. In a meeting there with Muslim leaders, the pope called for a “trilateral dialogue,” including the Church, to help bring Jews and Muslims together to discuss peace.


The pope and Peres together planted an olive tree at the president’s residence Monday afternoon, followed by a performance by a choir made up of Jewish and Arab girls joined by Israeli tenor Dudu Fisher, who sang “Bring Him Home” from the musical “Les Miserables” only minutes after the pope met with the family of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.


“Old divisions have aged and diminished,” Peres told the pope. “So more than the need for another armored vehicle, we need a strong, inspiring spirit to instill both the conviction that peace is attainable, and the burning desire to pursue it.”


“Ties of reconciliation and understanding are now being woven between the Holy See and the Jewish people,” he added. “We cherish this process and your leadership. Our door is open to similar efforts with the Muslim world.”

(JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Controversy Abounds During Pope’s Visit To Israel”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Israel Envisions Regional Cooperation with Arab Nations
Latest News Stories
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Israeli PM Netanyahu talks about his vision for regional cooperation with Arab nations.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser and Hadera Mayor Tzvika Gendelman sign sister-city agreement.

Hadera drew the attention of El Paso officials for the city’s desert environment, a large electric power plant, desalination plant and manufacturing complex, and the high-tech incubation programs at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, located 30 miles away.

Jerusalem Hug Day coexistence event was marred by violence. May 28, 2015.

A day devoted to “peaceful co-existence” in Jerusalem was marred by Arab “anti-normalization” thugs.

Two car bombs exploded next to popular Baghdad hotels on May 29, 2015.

At least a dozen people are reported to have been killed in the attack, and another 30 wounded.

The labor union at Israel Railways warned Thursday that workers plan to strike on Sunday.

They’re just rackng up the Iranian generals….

The Nusra front now controls all the cities in the province, which shares a border with Turkey.

A yeshiva student from Jerusalem was found lifeless Thursday after he apparently drowned while swimming in nearby Beit Zayit.

PM Netanyahu warns FIFA that Palestinian blackmail will ultimately kill the international soccer federation which hopes to expel Israel from the group.

Another surgery is needed. Please daven for Aryeh ben Rina.

Both Westmacott and German ambassador Peter Wittig warned that if the U.S. Congress blocked a deal by not enabling sanctions relief to take place, the international sanctions regime would collapse.

A cyber security breach into the IRS computer system has been traced back to Russia. Cost; $50 million-plus.

The temperature has been scorching hot for the past couple of days. And that’s been setting off brush fires. There have been massive fires, big fires and little fires all over the country. Some homes near Beit Shemesh were evacuated last night due to the approaching fires. As if it wasn’t hot enough outside.

The U.S. State Dept. had a difficult time explaining what the Quartet has ever accomplished except spending money.

Former New York Gov. George Pataki is the latest Republican to throw his hat in the crowed GOP ring of presidential hopefuls. He declared his candidacy in a video post Thursday morning and touted his actions as governor following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “We need to recapture that spirit, that sense that we are one […]

More Articles from Marcy Oster
Arab-Crowds-033012

JERUSALEM – If pro-Palestinian calls for a so-called Global March to Jerusalem are heeded, thousands of Arabs from the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria could converge on Israel’s borders.

Aftermath of Grad rocket attack on center of southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.

JERUSALEM – Egypt announced that a cease-fire it brokered between terrorist groups in Egypt and Israel went into effect at 1 a.m. Tuesday, but several rockets and mortar shells fired from Gaza exploded in Israel after the announcement.

JERUSALEM – In the aftermath of the deadliest fire in Israel’s history, Israelis this week set to the task of burying the dead, cleaning up and figuring out what exactly went wrong – and who is to blame.

JERUSALEM – Actress Meg Ryan’s decision to cancel her appearance at this week’s Jerusalem Film Festival didn’t garner the same attention in Israel as British rocker Elvis Costello’s nixing his Israel concert this spring.

JERUSALEM – Actress Meg Ryan’s decision to cancel her appearance at this week’s Jerusalem Film Festival didn’t garner the same attention in Israel as British rocker Elvis Costello’s nixing his Israel concert this spring.

JERUSALEM – With nations around the world condemning Israel for the deaths of nine activists aboard a Gaza-bound ship, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a planned visit to the White House.

JERUSALEM – Coming as a self-described “pilgrim of peace,” Pope Benedict XVI vowed to fight anti-Semitism and called for a Palestinian state in the moments after his arrival in Israel for a five-day visit.

JERUSALEM – Coming as a self-described “pilgrim of peace,” Pope Benedict XVI vowed to fight anti-Semitism and called for a Palestinian state in the moments after his arrival in Israel for a five-day visit.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/controversy-abounds-during-popes-visit-to-israel/2009/05/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: