|We must work for reconciliation and
peace between Jews and Christians
After visiting the Chief
Rabbis on Thursday morning, 23 March, the Holy Father paid a
courtesy call on Israeli President Ezer Weizman at the
Presidential Palace. They had a private meeting and then the
Pope gave a brief address to the President and members of the
Government. Here is the text of the Holy Father's remarks, which
were made in English.
Members of the Knesset,
I am most grateful, Mr President, for the welcome you have
given me to Israel.
To this meeting we both bring long histories. You represent
Jewish memory, reaching
beyond the recent history of this land to your peoples
unique journey through the centuries and millennia. I come as
one whose Christian memory
reaches back through the 2,000 years since
the birth of Jesus in this very Land.
History, as the ancients held, is the
Magistra vitae, a
teacher of how to
live. This is why we must be determined to heal the wounds of
the past, so that
they may never be opened again. We must work for a new era
of reconciliation and
peace between Jews and Christians. My visit is a pledge
that the Catholic Church will do everything possible to ensure
that this is not just a
dream but a reality.
We know that real peace in the
Middle East will come only as a result of mutual understanding
and respect between
all the peoples of the region: Jews, Christians and Muslims.
In this perspective, my pilgrimage is a journey of hope: the
hope that the 21st century will lead to a new solidarity among the
peoples of the world, in the conviction that development,
justice and peace
will not be attained unless they are attained for all.
Building a brighter future for the human family is a task
which concerns us
all. That is why I am pleased to greet you, Government
of the Knesset and Diplomatic Representatives of many countries,
who must make and
implement decisions which affect the lives of people. It
is my fervent hope that a genuine desire for peace will inspire
decision. With that as my prayer, I invoke abundant divine
blessings upon you, Mr
President, upon your country, and upon all of you who
have honoured me with your presence. Thank you.