RIO DE JANEIRO (Aug. 28)
One of Brazil’s foremost Roman Catholic leaders, Bishop Jose Concalves da Costa, today endorsed Israel’s unification of the city of Jerusalem, and rejected firmly proposals that Jerusalem be internationalized because of the protection needed to the holy places in the city.
He emphasized that Israel has guaranteed to all Christian pilgrims free access to the holy places, not only in Jerusalem but also in Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jericho, Hebron and anywhere else in Israeli jurisdiction where religious pilgrims might want to go. Don Jose, who is secretary-general of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops, just returned from a visit to Israel and made his views clear in an interview appearing in Jornal do Brasil, one of this country’s leading newspapers.
Referring to Jerusalem as “the age-old capital of the Jewish nations,” the bishop lauded the Israeli Government’s strict observance of the principle of free access to all Christian religious shrines. He also spoke very warmly about the behavior of the Israeli authorities in the areas it had taken from the Arabs during the Six-Day War, and praised Israel’s humanitarian work regarding the Arabs.