Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

AIJAC welcomes Pope Benedict XVI

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22 April 2005

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council National Chairman Mark Leibler AC and Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein today issued a statement congratulating Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on his election to the papacy:

"The new Pope has a history of warm relations with the Jewish people and has long demonstrated a determination to strengthen Catholic-Jewish relations.

"Benedict XVI has expressed support for Israel in the past, saying in a 1994 interview, 'I think it is very important that Jews, even if they live all over the world, have a homeland, a point of reference, live in the land of their fathers as a people in continuity with their own history and the promise given to their forefathers.' As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he demonstrated a solid understanding of Zionism, and empathised with the religious roots of the Jewish state.

"We trust that Benedict XVI will continue the achievements of his predecessor John Paul II, in further enhancing relations between the Vatican and Israel and the growing understanding and reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people."

For further information, contact AIJAC on (03) 9681 6660

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