Praise from Israel after Pope exonerates Jews for Jesus' death

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Israel has “welcomed wholeheratedly” the Pope’s announcement exonerating Jews for the death of Jesus.

A spokesman for Israel’s embassy to the Vatican said it was “confirmation of Pope Benedict XVI’s known positive stance towards the Jewish people and the state of Israel.”

He said: “We hope that his positive view will inspire the more of one billion Catholics all over the world".

The Pope’s “biblical and theological” explaination of why the Jewish people were “not in any way inherently and collectively responsible" is included in his new book, Jesus of Nazareth-Part II.

The Church officially absolved the Jews of deicide in 1965 with the ground-breaking declaration of the Second Vatican Council, removing one of the major sources of Christian antisemitism.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the Pope for reiterating this and “forcefully rejecting...a false charge that has been a foundation for the hatred of the Jewish people for many centuries."

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said the Pope had set “an important marker against antisemitism in the Church.”

He said: “Jews around the world value greatly that this Pope is absolutely serious about having a good relationship between Christians and Jews and is not just paying lip service to it.”

Last updated: 3:54pm, March 4 2011