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Catholic cleric comes out against Jewish state

The Roman Catholic Church’s top cleric in the Holy Land said Israel should not be designated a Jewish state.

Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah came out this week against the Olmert government’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state before peace talks can proceed.

“God made this land for all three of us so a suitable state is one who can adapt itself to the vocation of this land,” said Sabbah, an Arab who was born in the northern Israeli town of Nazareth and who regularly officiates at religious events in the Palestinian Authority town of Bethlehem.

“If it’s Jewish, it’s not Muslim or Christian,” he told reporters.

Sabbah had no word on whether a future Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip should not be allowed to favor Muslims given those territories’ sanctity to Jews and Christians.

Israel guarantees freedom of worship to all faiths.

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