12/02/2016, 13.46
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Vatican and Israel criticise UNESCO: no one can deny biblical history

The Joint Vatican-Rabbinate Committee slams decision to use only the Arabic name of the holy sites in East Jerusalem, denying the relationship between Jews and Temple Mount.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Vatican has joined the critics of the UNESCO decision to use only the name Arabic name of holy places in East Jerusalem, leaving out their Hebrew version.

The Joint Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel's Delegation for Relations with the Catholic Church and the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews issued a joint statement noting that the UNESCO decision’s denies on political and polemical grounds the relationship between Jews and Temple Mount and the biblical story.

The communiqué states that it is necessary now more than ever to promote peace at a time when violence is perpetrated in the name of religion. In view of today’s challenges and human tragedies, it goes on to emphasise the importance of religious leaders setting an example for tolerance and respect.

The parties also promised that they would try to persuade more effectively their respective authorities to act in the most tolerant and humane ways towards “others” and the weak.

Pope Francis’s recent remarks to representatives of various religions are particularly appropriate. "May we reject the aimless paths of disagreement and closed-mindedness. May it never happen again that the religions, because of the conduct of some of their followers, convey a distorted message, out of tune with that of mercy. Sadly, not a day passes that we do not hear of acts of violence, conflict, kidnapping, terrorist attacks, killings and destruction. It is horrible that at times, to justify such barbarism, the name of a religion or the name of God himself is invoked. May there be clear condemnation of these iniquitous attitudes that profane the name of God and sully the religious quest of mankind. May there instead be fostered everywhere the peaceful encounter of believers and genuine religious freedom." (Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to representatives of different religions, Vatican, 3 November 2016).

After more than half a century of Jewish-Catholic reconciliation and fruitful dialogue, Christians and Jews are called to work together to help create peace for the whole human family, fulfilling the words of the psalmist: "Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss” (Psalm 85:11).

The parties also stressed the importance of educating the new generations to promote peace and mutual respect.

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