.- The Vatican reacted yesterday to harsh criticism from Israel over a claim that they were deliberately ignored by the Pope during a brief listing of nations that experienced recent terrorist attacks during Sundayâs Angelus--a claim that the Vatican called unfounded. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, Holy See Press Office Director said that, "Concerning the Israeli reaction to the fact that the Holy Father, in his Angelus of Sunday July 24, did not also mention Israel alongside other countries, it should be noted that Benedict XVI's words specifically referred to the attacks of 'these days.'â
A bombing in the Israeli city of Netanya, to which the government referred, happened 12 days ago while those mentioned by the Pope had occurred within the past 72 hours.
"It is surprisingâ, Navarro-Valls continued, âthat the Holy Father's intention should have been thus groundlessly misinterpreted, it being well known that in numerous interventions the Church, the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs, and most recently Pope Benedict XVI, have condemned all forms of terrorism, from whatever side it comes and against whomsoever it is directed.â
He added that: "Obviously, the serious attack in Netanya two weeks ago, to which the Israeli comments refer, also falls under the general and unreserved condemnation of terrorism."
A report by AsiaNews notes that the Israeli statement was âunusually harsh and violentâ, and that it was marred by grammatical errors, suggesting it was written in haste.
In a statement later yesterday however, the Israeli foreign ministry toned down their claims calling the Popeâs omission merely âa mistake.â