By Simon Rocker
May 21, 2009
Pope Benedict XVI may have made no faux pas during his visit to the Middle East but you might have got the impression that he had a rather cool reception in Israel. There were various gripes – eg “Survivors angered by Pope's ‘lukewarm’ Yad Vashem speech”.
However, one rabbinical interfaith expert, Rabbi David Rosen (chairman of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations) said there was an “amazing disparity” between what actually happened there and some of the press coverage.
It was a “great visit” and “certainly a great contribution for Catholic-Jewish relations,” he told a breakfast briefing today for the Council of Christians and Jews during a stopover in London.
Among the highlights of the Pope’s Israel leg, Rabbi Rosen said, was a “love-fest” at an interfaith meeting in Nazareth which had religious leaders joining hands as they sang the Song of Peace.
He also praised Benedict’s courage for speaking of the unique relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people before a predominantly Muslim audience in Jordan.