Interfaith Leaders Urge Vatican to Recognize Israel

A panel of interfaith leaders, authors and academicians meeting for three days in New Orleans issued a statement urging “recognition of the State of Israel by the Vatican, the posthumous excommunication of Adolf Hitler by the Catholic Church, and the emphasis on the essential Jewishness of Christianity by the Christian Church,” it was reported here by Jacques Torczyner chairman of the Herzl Institute, who was a member of the panel.

“Our group of Protestant, Catholic and Jewish authorities on relations between Christians and Jews in the United States discussed the Holocaust and its impact on both Jews and Christians,” Torczyner added. He said the speakers agreed that Israel “must not be regarded as a result of the Holocaust but rather as a response to that tragedy. Israel was seen as a sign that the world’s Jews refused to accept the idea that death would have the final word.”

The panel, which included Rabbi Solomon Bernards, director of the interreligious department of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, Dr. Harry Corgas, professor of world literature at Webster College in St. Louis, Mo., Prof. Alice Eckardt, professor of religion at Lehigh University, Dr. David Sidorsky, professor of philosophy at Columbia University, and Dr. William Zuidema of The Netherlands, also insisted that the legitimacy of Israel’s existence is not open to question. No other government is faced with a similar challenge, the panel emphasized.

Sister Katherine Hargrove of Manhattan Ville College in New York said that an annual “interfaith think-tank dialogue” would be established, Torczyner reported.

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