Latin American Catholic priests visiting Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A delegation of young Latin American Catholic priests is in Israel to learn about Jews and Judaism, as well as Israeli life.

The priests from Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay are in Israel for a weeklong Jewish-Christian educational mission sponsored by the World Jewish Congress, the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Israel, and the Latin American Jewish Congress.

“As the center of gravity of the Catholic Church shifts to South America and Africa, it is vitally important to create new friendships between the future leaders of the Catholic Church in Latin America and the Jewish people,’ said David Nekrutman, executive director of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Israel.

Claudio Epelman, executive director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, said, “We seek to  achieve increased cooperation between future Latin American Catholic and Jewish leaders in the teaching of common values, mutual respect and support for the Jewish state, which will add strength to our communities.”

The mission began as Pope Benedict XVI left office. Cardinals are assembling in the Vatican to choose his successor.

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