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Beatified Popes hailed for contributions to Jewish-Christian relations

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25 Apr 2014
Beatified Popes hailed for contributions to Jewish-Christian relations

Israeli and Jewish leaders warmly greeted a decision by the Catholic Church to grant Sainthood status this coming Sunday to Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, who both led efforts within the Church to end centuries of anti-Semitic policies and attitudes. John XXIII is remembered for leading the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which resulted, among other things, in the "Nostra Aetate" document repudiating the 2,000-year-old concept of collective Jewish guilt for the death of Jesus. John Paul II devoted a great deal of time during his reign from 1978-2005 to the issue, becoming the first Pope since ancient times to visit a Synagogue as well as the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where he left a note saying he was "deeply saddened by the behavior of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer."

"It was a gesture that will never be forgotten," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which issued a statement calling the two Pope’s "heroes to the Jewish people.”

Jordan gives diplomatic support to Palestinians
The Palestinian Authority got a diplomatic boost on Thursday from Jordan, as Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour met in Ramallah with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and signed agreements to strengthen relations in various fields, including an increase in economic and trade ties. During a press conference Ensour re-iterated that his government recognizes PA sovereignty over “every square millimeter” of east Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount in the Old City.

Israeli-Arabs non-profit helping women in Jaffa
The Jaffa Bride of the Sea Women’s Center in Jaffa (Arous Elbahr in Arabic, nickname for the ancient port of Jaffa) was started by an Arab-Israeli Moslem women, Safa Younes, seven years ago. From small beginnings, it has become one of the most important community assets in Jaffa, assisting hundreds of Moslem, Christian and Jewish women to take courses, find jobs and, with the help of advice from the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law, start businesses. “The whole main purpose of this association is to give a platform to empower women socially or financially,” said Yifat Kedmi is a social projects manager at the Center.

Violence flares on the Israel-Gaza border
Violence flared on Israel’s southern border Thursday evening as terrorists in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in an attack against Israeli soldiers carrying out a routine patrol along the border fence. The explosion failed to cause any injuries or damage, and IDF troops returned fire, also causing no reported injuries. Two other IEDs were discovered near the border earlier in the day, along with a mortar shell which was fired into Israel. Also on Thursday, the IDF released official figures showing that over 100 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel so far in 2014. In related news, the Egyptian military declared on Thursday that it was in full operational control of the Sinai Peninsula, despite ongoing clashes with “terrorist elements.”

Holocaust Memorial Day to begin at sundown Sunday
As Israel prepares to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, plans were announced for six survivors to light torches at the Yad Vashem Memorial and Museum on Sunday evening as part of the government’s official ceremony. Asher Aud, Zvi Michaeli, Dita Kraus, Chayim Herzl, Hinda Tasman and Itzchak Biran, will light torches at the Holocaust museum’s Warsaw Ghetto Square at the event attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau. Several other communities throughout the Land of Israel have also planned events.

Here is a video showing how the Holocaust has been commemorated in Israel


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