President Reuven Rivlin recently opened his home to a delegation of European Roman Catholic leaders visiting the Land of Israel, the stage on which the majority of events in Scriptures play out.
Addressing the representatives of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE), President Rivlin’s message spoke straight to the hearts of his audience: In a region fraught with violent religious persecution, Israel stands as a beacon of hope for Christians.
“In the last years the Christian communities of the Middle East have paid a heavy price for their faith,” the president said. “Israel, as a Jewish and democratic state, is proud that Christians in Israel enjoy freedom of worship, freedom of religion, and do not fear for their lives.”
Offering a hand of camaraderie, the president reminded his audience that history, as well as the present day, bears witness to Jews being subjected to the horrors of persecution. “The Jewish people know what it means to have to hide your faith in fear for your life,” he said. “Even today, in too many places Jews do not wear skullcaps in the street. Anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism, together with all forms of hatred, and racism must be condemned by all of us.”
The president stressed that the Jewish state’s desire for its Christian residents went well beyond religious freedom and physical security. “It is not enough for us, for Israel, to only be a safe haven for the Christian community,” he explained. “We want the community to flourish, to play a part in the Israeli experience, and to be part of Israeli society.”
Source: By Ilse Posselt, Bridges for Peace
Photo Credit: Mazur/Flickr
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