04/16/2007, 00.00
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Apostolic Nuncio in Israel ends boycott of Holocaust Remembrance Event

by Arieh Cohen
The management of Yad Va-Shem agreed to "re-examine" the offensive caption for a photo of Pius XII. Jewish personalities blamed the Yad Va-Shem for the exhibit , but asked the Vatican not to boycott the commemorative event.

Tel Aviv (AsiaNews) - There was  satisfaction and relief in Israel at the news that the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Franco was, after all, going to be present at the ceremony to start the Day of Remembrance for the victims of the Shoah, held last night (Sunday 15th) at the national Monument of Yad Va-Shem. The pontifical representative altered thus his earlier decision to be absent from the event, to protest the exhibition in the adjacent Museum of a photograph of the Servant of God, Pope Pius XII, side by side with those of Fascist dictators, together with an accusatory text holding that Pope responsible for not having acted more energetically to condemn more explicitly the Nazi tyranny, and to save the Jews from being massacred.

The new decision of the high-ranking prelate was due to the "availability" expressed at the last moment by the management of Yad Va-Shem to "re-examine" the offensive exhibit. So Israeli media have reported. The same media have also speculated that the change in the position of the Vatican (no one supposes that either decision was made by the Nuncio on his personal initiative) was also due  to the concerns expressed by Catholic and Jewish personalities and organisations long committed to the Catholic-Jewish dialogue and who enjoy the esteem of Church Authorities. Their message was this: it is right, and indeed an obligation, to protest vigorously against the calumnies and insults gratuitously directed at the Servant of God, but this is not the way. The author of the insult is the management of one particular organisation, Yad Va-Shem, but the commemorative event is not the property of that management, even though Yad Va-Shem may host it; rather, boycotting it could wound an entire People - an effect that, to be sure, could not be farther from the mind of the Pontifical Representative and his Superiors.

The diplomatic activity to obtain the removal of the offensive exhibit will surely continue, and be emphatic, but in other ways. With a view to this continuation of the exchanges on the subject, the strong move announced by the Nuncio last week could still turn out to be very useful. It could, like nothing else, persuade Israel of the gravity that the Church ascribes to this matter, and of the urgency of the need to remedy it.

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See also
New Holocaust Museum opens at Yad Vashem
Holocaust can never be denied, belittled or forgotten, Pope says
Always make the good manifest, says Vatican envoy at Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem fires guide who compared founding of state of Israel to Holocaust
Israel stops to remember Holocaust victims


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