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Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger Praises Pope Benedict for Outreach to Jews

Israeli chief rabbi Yona Metzger on Monday praised Pope Benedict’s inter-religious outreach and said relations between Israel and the Vatican had never been better.

“During his period (as pope) there were the best relations ever between the church and the chief rabbinate and we hope that this trend will continue,” a spokesman quoted Metzger as saying after the pope announced he would resign. “I think he deserves a lot of credit for advancing inter-religious links the world over between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.”

Metzger wished the pope “good health and long days”, the spokesman said.

The FCJE, the umbrella organization representing Spanish Jews, said in a statement issued shortly after the announcement that it “respected” the pope’s decision.

“As pope, Benedict XVI acted with great intellectual rigor that undoubtedly contributed to Catholic-Jewish relations,” the statement read. “We wish the pope a long life and encourage him to continue working for peace between the peoples after leaving the post.”

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