On the occasion of meeting H.H. Pope Benedict XVI, this
tenth day of November 2011, we the religious leaders in the State of
Israel affirm our belief in the Creator of the Universe who directs His
world with loving kindness and compassion and who calls upon us human
beings to live with one another in peace and dignity.
The Council of
Religious Leaders expresses gratitude to His Holiness for this outstanding
meeting, and holds in esteem His activity to bring hearts together and to
bring peace throughout the world.
First and foremost, we reiterate
our commitment to the sanctity of human life and reject all violence,
especially when this is done in the name of religion – a desecration
of the sacred.
In order to maintain peace and mutual respect among
the different religious communities in our State, we must educate our
children and congregations accordingly and prevent any offense against the
feelings or beliefs of others.
We inherited the Holy Sites from our
forebears, and we are required to preserve their religious sanctity and
cultural significance. We do this, also in the name of Israeli Law related
to the protection of the Holy Sites. The unity and special character of the
Holy Sites must be protected from all violence and desecration. It is the
responsibility of the religious leaders to strengthen this approach and to
call on their communities to ensure that the Holy Sites of other religious
communities are not harmed.
In accordance with the above, and in
keeping with the commandments and prohibitions of each respective
religion, free access for believers to their respective holy sites must be
provided, and the empowered civil authorities must guarantee
Our religious heritages teach us that peace, doing justice,
and righteousness are the commandments of the Holy One Blessed Be He, and
as religious leaders, we have a special duty to be attentive to the
cry of the weak in our midst and to work together for a more just and fair
We reiterate our commitment to do everything in our power to
fulfill this important charge, especially in the Holy Land, which is dear
to us all.
Offering our prayer heavenwards, we give thanks to the
Creator, who has enabled us to come together this day in order to work
together to bring a blessing for all.
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