Pope Meets Olmert, Praises ´Turn-the-Other-Cheek´ Policy
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Catholic Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday. The Christian leader praised Israel’s policy of adhering to a cease-fire deal despite continued attacks on its citizens.
By Ezra HaLevi
First Publish: 12/14/2006, 9:01 AM / Last Update: 12/13/2006, 6:11 PM
Olmert urged the Pope to encourage Christians to take a stance against Holocaust denial, in light of Iran’s state-sponsored conference this week questioning the reality of the Nazi genocide.
The Vatican released a statement directed at the Iranian conference on Tuesday, saying, "The Shoah [Holocaust] was a great tragedy before which we cannot remain indifferent. The memory of those horrible events must remain as a warning for people's consciences."
The Pope lauded Israel’s decision not to respond to continued missile attacks on Jewish towns in the western Negev. He also praised Olmert’s visit to Germany.
Olmert's office said that Olmert and the Pontiff discussed the Vatican’s land holdings in Israel - including, presumably, the Catholic Church’s aims to develop a center on Mount Zion. Click here to read Arutz-7's coverage of the Vatican’s goals for Mount Zion.
According to Olmert’s office, the prime minister invited the Pope to visit Israel, saying “his very presence would increase peace in Israel.” Benedict said he would come to Israel “when things calm down.”
The Catholic world leader recently visited Turkey in an attempt to placate outraged Muslims following statements he made quoting an opinion that Islam is violent.
Following his meeting with the Pope, which lasted 35 minutes instead of the scheduled 10-minute conversation, Olmert met with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
Israel and the Vatican established diplomatic relations in 1990.