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The Chief Rabbis of Israel to the Pope
Jerusalem, March 23, 2000

Following are Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau's and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron's greetings to Pope John Paul II:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
They will prosper who love you
(Psalms 122:6)

The people of Israel who dwell in Zion and the Chief Rabbis of Israel welcome Pope John Paul II with the traditional greeting: Blessed be your coming to Israel.

From the holy city of Jerusalem, about which the prophet Zechariah said: "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion... And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day and shall be My people, and I will dwell in the midst of you." (Zechariah 2:14-15) We welcome one who saw fit to express remorse in the name of the Catholic Church for the terrible deeds committed against the Jewish People during the course of the past 2,000 years and even appointed a commission for requesting forgiveness from the Jewish nation with regard to the Holocaust.

We remember and mention to his credit the decisive assistance he gave in the matter of moving the Carmelite Convent out of the area of the Auschwitz concentration camp, a place where millions of our brothers and sisters were murdered for the Sanctification of the Name, sacrificed for the sole reason that they were "called by the Name of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 25:10).

We appreciate as well his recognition of our right to return to, and live in, the Holy Land in peace and brotherhood within safe borders recognized by the nations of the world and especially by our neighbors. All these things were given expression in the prayer he offered at Auschwitz (June 11, 1999) for the success of the Israeli people's efforts for peace.

We, the Chief Rabbis of Israel, representing the Jewish People dwelling in the Holy Land, express our hope and faith that the prophesies will be fulfilled, of Malachi: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord," (Malachi 3:22), and of Zechariah: "Thus says the Lord: I return unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and Jerusalem shall be called The City of Truth and the Mountain of the Lord of Hosts, the Holy Mountain...There shall yet sit old men and women in the streets of Jerusalem, every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the broad places of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof." (Zechariah, 8:3-5)

From Jerusalem, capital of the State of Israel, and from Zion, the holy city, we pray that we may be granted a good and long life, a life of peace and security, health and peace of mind, a life of human brotherhood. May it be His will that the words of the prophet be fulfilled: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isaiah 2:4)

May He who makes peace in His heavens bring peace to us and to all of Israel.

Created / Updated Wednesday, March 29, 2000 at 11:28:13