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Pope Urges Dialogue in Meeting With Israelis

Pope Benedict XVI urged dialogue among faiths and condemned violence in the name of God in a meeting with Israeli religious leaders.

In a meeting Thursday at the Vatican with members of the Israeli Religious Council, the pope affirmed that religion must be a force for peace.

“Today we find ourselves confronted by two kinds of violence: on the one hand, the use of violence in the name of religion and, on the other, the violence that is the consequence of the denial of God which often characterises life in modern society,” the pope said. “In this situation, as religious leaders we are called to reaffirm that the rightly lived relationship of man to God is a force for peace. This is a truth that must become ever more visible in the way in which we live with each other on a daily basis. Hence, I wish to encourage you to foster a climate of trust and dialogue among the leaders and members of all the religious traditions present in the Holy Land.”

Formed in 2007 to raise awareness about the need for interfaith dialogue and cooperation in Israel, the council represets 18 different religious communities, including Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Druze.

Israel’s chief rabbi, Yona Metzger, called the meeting historic and noted its coincidence with the anniversary of Kristallnacht.

“We, the religious leaders of the Holy Land, have come to prove once and for all that we can live in peace,” Metzger told the pope.

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