Israel’s president has insisted a faithful Jew cannot be anti-Muslim.
The comments came at an annual reception for leaders of the country’s Christian community marking the new year – and the end of a year which marked the 50th anniversary of the landmark Nostra Aetate declaration.
The President said: “I was honored this year, to meet with the Pope in the Vatican, where we spoke about how this relationship has grown stronger over the years. I appreciate very much what he said against anti-Semitism, and against converting Jews.
“His message of understanding and acceptance reflects both Christian and Jewish ideas – ‘Love your neighbor, like yourself’. Pope Francis said, ‘A true Christian cannot be an anti-Semite’. Let me say – a faithful Jew cannot be anti-Christian or anti-Muslim. The Ten Commandments – holy to Jews and Christians – teach respect for God and respect for man. These values do not go against each other, they go with each other. At the same time, the Jewish and democratic values of Israel go hand in hand.”
Rivlin added: “I am proud that Israel protects the freedom of worship and expression for everyone, of every faith. It is not enough for us to only be a safe home for Christians. We want the community to prosper, and play a part in Israeli society.”
The event – attended by heads of various churches in Israel, senior members of the community, and representatives of the Israeli government – was also addressed by Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Theophilos III.