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Israeli Rabbis urge pope on anti-Semitism
The meeting between Israel's two chief rabbis and the Pope has now taken place. They urged him to speak out against the recent destruction of synagogues in Gaza Strip, and other forms of anti-Semitism. They warned that the desecration of churches and other holy places could follow unless a strong stand is taken.
"The Second World War started with burning of synagogues; then the crematoriums, burning people," Israel's Ashkenazi chief rabbi Yona Metzger said.
"We are fearful the same terrorism of desecrating synagogues ... will spill over into other parts of the world," he said, noting that churches and mosques could be targeted.
There has been little response from the world at large to the destruction of the synagogues by hate-filled Palestinians. This act should have provoked outrage because it was wrong, and not just because Muslim extremists could extend their destruction to other religious buildings. Compare the indifference of the Churches to this vandalism with the squeals of indignation when Palestinian terrorist thugs invaded the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem - the anger being directed not at the criminals - the Muslim terrorists - but at the Jews.
The pope said he would try to respond "in a positive way" to the rabbis' requests, and I hope he will support the following suggestion.
Metzger and Sephardic chief rabbi Shlomo Amar also asked the Pope to urge priests, bishops and cardinals around the world to set aside one day of the year to preach the teachings of a landmark Vatican document on relations with Jews that deplored all forms of anti-Semitism.
Nostra Aetate was a revolutionary document in the history of the Church, marking the beginning of a reversal of previous prejudiced teaching - but it was only a beginning. A two thousand year old attitude is not changed overnight, and frequent reminders and development are required to carry it forward.