Israel Wants Pope to Condemn Holocaust Deniers
The Pope’s visit to Israel has brought up a lot of the bitterness between Israel and the Vatican and even ancient and medieval history between Jews and Christians.
As part of this phenomenon, the Israeli minister for religious affairs has sent a letter to the Pope demanding that he condemn Holocaust deniers. This is quite strange as the Pope (or indeed the last two Popes) have never shown any support for Holocaust denial. It is true that the Pope ended the ex-communication of a bishop who is a Holocaust denier, but he already apologized for this.
OK, so Jews are disturbed by the fact that the Pope favors canonization for Pope Pius even though he didn’t do enough to save the Jews during WWII. But let’s be honest — if you’re the Pope, don’t you have to advocate the canonization of the previous Popes? It’s kind of in the job description.
What remains are arguments about the visit itself. The Pope supports a two-state solution and plans to make that very clear in his visit. Those who oppose this solution are unhappy with the visit. Even some who support it are upset that the Pope planned to meet the mayor of Nazareth who is considered by Israel to be a supporter of terror. (This meeting has been canceled.) And then there is the most substantive complaint of all – that the Pope’s visit will adversely affect Jerusalem traffic for the next week.
This is the first time a Pope has visited Israel in full coordination with the Israeli government, but whether some of the cracks in the Israel-Vatican relationship can be sealed still remains to be seen.