President of Israel says ‘Pope’s entire message is positive’


Commenting on the Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the Holy Land, the president of Israel, Shimon Peres, said on Wednesday: "The entire message of the Pope is positive and could spark important reflection."

In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, Peres said, in order to "have a clear idea of the message left by Benedict XVI," it is "necessary to combine his discourse at the airport" in which he deplored anti-Semitism and encouraged Christians to promote peace, with "the one at Yad Vashem," in which he reiterated the commitment to the Church to denounce all hatred.

Peres told the Vatican newspaper that there was no one better than the Pope to express rejection for any religion that justifies violence. He said the Holy Father’s strongest message was "perhaps his arrival speech. More than once the Pope has spoken of the role of the three monotheistic religions in the building of a lasting peace."

Referring to the search for peace, Peres noted that a new trend is emerging in the Middle East. People are no longer "satisfied with bilateral agreements, but rather seek regional agreements for peace and peaceful coexistence with the understanding that modern democracy does not consist of the right to be equal, but in the equality of rights to be different; in which all prayers can reach heaven without interference or censure."

Speaking about the future of his country in the Middle East, the Israeli president also said, "Recourse to arms and to violence must end. We must tear down the walls."

"People need to be allowed to enter a new age of science and technology that is not in contradiction with the Scriptures," he continued.

"As believers it is possible to live in the age of science," Peres said. "There is no contrast, as the Pope himself has underscored. But above all we must open the borders to allow our children to live a future of peace."