Danny Ayalon
Danny AyalonIsrael news photo

The Catholic Synod in Rome last week was “hijacked” by anti-Zionists, Deputy Minister Danny Ayalon has charged. Ayalaon also was “appalled” at an Archbishop’s statement that the Chosen People concept no longer applies only to Jews.

"We express our disappointment that this important Synod has become a forum for political attacks on Israel in the best history of Arab propaganda," Ayalon said. "The Synod was hijacked by an anti-Israel majority."

He called on the Vatican to distance itself from the “libel” in remarks by U.S. Archbishop Cyrille Bustros, a Lebanese native who chaired the Synod committee that summarized its criticism of a Jewish presence in united Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

The cleric also told reporters that the Biblical promise that the Land of Israel is for Jews, as the Chosen People, was "abolished by the presence of Christ." He added, "For Christians, one can no longer talk of the land promised to the Jewish people… There is no longer a favored people, a chosen people; all men and women of every country have become the chosen people.” 

"We are especially appalled at the language used by Archbishop Bustros during his press conference," Ayalon remarked. "We call on the Vatican to distance themselves from Archbishop Bustros' comments, which are a libel against the Jewish People and the State of Israel and should not be construed as the Vatican's official position. These outrageous comments should not cast a shadow over the important relationship between the Vatican, the State of Israel and the Jewish People."

After two weeks of discussions, the Synod called on the international community "to end the occupation of Arab lands." Bustros added, “The theme of the Promised Land cannot be used as a basis to justify the return of the Jews to Israel and the expatriation of the Palestinians."

Yigal Palmor, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said the Synod clerics who expressed concern over the dwindling number of Christians in Israel were "committing a sin towards the truth" by forgetting to mention that "Israel is the one country in the region that is welcoming to Christians."