19-February-2013 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Israeli Prime Minister Sends Letter of Gratitude to Pope Benedict

Benjamin Netanyahu Applauds Pontiff's Efforts to Improve Judeo-Christian Relations

By Junno Arocho Esteves

JERUSALEM, February 19, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI thanking the Holy Father for his efforts in strengthening relations between Jews and Christians. The letter was made public yesterday on the Prime Minister's Office web page.

"On behalf of the people of Israel, I want to thank you for all you have done as Pope to strengthen relations between Christians and Jews and between the Vatican and the Jewish State," the letter stated.

The 85 year-old Pontiff announced last Monday his intention to resign from the papacy, which will be effective on February 28th. Pope Benedict will spend time at the Papal residence in Castelgandolfo before moving to his permanent residence at a monastery within the Vatican grounds.

"I thank you also for courageously defending Judeo-Christian values and the roots of our common civilization during your time as pontiff. I have no doubt that these values, which were so essential to building the modern world, are no less critical to securing a future of security, prosperity and peace."

The Israeli Prime Minister recalled Pope Benedict's visit to the Holy Land, describing it as a "rare opportunity to give expression to the new relations between our faiths."

Netanyahu also stated that he remembered with fondness Pope Benedict's reference to Judaism as "Christianity's elder brother" as well the Pontiff's affirmation of a cooperative future between Christians.

Netanyahu concluded his letter thanking Pope Benedict for his leadership and wished him long life and happiness.

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