Monday, July 13, 2020 -
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Navigating a minefield

So the Pope’s been in Israel. Lots of handshakes, media hype, and pressure from the gamut of NGOs. And the Pope made all the right moves: calling for a Palestinian state, condemning Holocaust denial, walking out when a Muslim cleric went too far in an anti-Israel tirade, and holding a mass in Bethlehem. He’s even going ecumenical, meeting Orthodox priests on Friday.

But, let’s face it, he’s navigating a minefield.

Some Jewish leaders, including former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau and Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev, criticized Benedict’s speech for being “understated” and not emphatic enough. Read the related IJN editorial

At an interfaith meeting the Pope was upstaged by Muslim cleric Taysir Tamimi, also the PA’s chief justice, who went off on a bitter anti-Israel tirade, prompting the Pontiff to leave the forum.

So all we’re left with is some guy trying to satisfy all parties. And just because he has a fancy title and is bedecked in jewels, certainly doesn’t mean he will succeed where all others have thus far failed.

And, of course, Benedict brings with him his own set of baggage. As a child he was a member of Hitler Youth – albeit every German child was encouraged to join. As Pope he stoked the ire of the Muslim community during a 2006 lecture in which he made an unfavourable comment about Islam, quoting a 14th century Byzantine emporer. And many in the Catholic community are wary of his predilection for conservative theology.

In a region of the world that is already so divided, the Pope is hardly a unifying bearer of peace. His only mark of success will if he manages to escape without having made any serious gaffes.

2 thoughts on “Navigating a minefield

  1. Yaakov Rowland

    I am constantly amazed at why anyone is suprised, upset, etc at the Pope’s recent visit to Israel. Why did anyone in the Jewish world expect he would be kinder,gentler Vactican? Here is a pope whose very tenets, symbols and the like promote the notion that the catholic church is the inheritor of the Jewish Faith. On their flag the is two keys underneath a crown. The keys represent the keys to the Temple, and the crown is the crown of G-d. They still us as a wayward lot and when jeezus died, we lost our status. This is still Catholic doctrine. The late Yeshayhu Leibowitz in one of his essays stated that the reason why the church did nothing during the Holocaust, is that it was against their religion to actively kill off Jews…so they used the Nazi’s as a proxy. The is backed up in the book “The War Against the Jews” by Arrons and Loftus. When the Pope was in the Hitler Youth, he like all members of the German armed forces, etc were required to swear an oath of loyalty to Germany, the Volk, to Hitler…for a German, Austrian, an oath is their honor and they take it seriously. Why has no one asked the Pope about that oath and whether or not it conflicted with his loyalty to the tenets of the Catholic faith? Could it be they complimented one another? This Pope and the Vatican establishment is not our friend. They are again using a Proxy…the Arabs against us. They want full control over so called properties they think they own and eventually most of Israel. In future, we should not allow the Pope to visit…we can forbid entry of a person(Jew or Goy) who is thought to present a danger to the state. This Pope does and therefore it is legal to impliment this law.

  2. Rocky Mountain Jew

    @Yaakov Rowland

    You make some good points. This pope is known for his conservative bent and traditional interpretation of Catholicism. And while interfaith dialogue is a great thing, it will never change the fact that religions, by definition, have different beliefs.

    One point we must contest: We don’t hold Benedict liable for being a member of Hitler Youth. During the Third Reich all children of a certain age joined Hitler Youth. He has never espoused anything that could even remotely be viewed as support for the Nazi regime.


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