Rabbi Yitzhak Yossef.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef on Monday asked the papal ambassador to Israel, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, to enlist the help of Pope Francis and the Catholic Church in easing the tension and violence in Jerusalem and Israel that has beset the country in recent weeks.
Yosef met with Apostolic Nunico Lazzarotto at the offices of the Chief Rabbinate in the capital and said that religious leaders should use their influence to impart to the adherents of their faiths the central concept of the sanctity of life and the requirement to refrain from shedding the blood of others.
“Jerusalem was given by God to the Jewish people thousands of years ago and we do not need to need to concede our sovereignty over it, but at the same time the Bible says ‘My house will be a house of prayer for all peoples,’” Yosef told Lazzarotto.
“Therefore we must allow people from all faiths to pray there if they so wish, while our utmost desire is to prevent bloodshed and to reduce the tensions, [because] the purpose of faith is to bring good and peace to all, and not the opposite, God forbid,” the chief rabbi continued.
Yosef pointed to his call to Jews not to visit the Temple Mount, which he has ruled is forbidden by Jewish law, although he underlined to Lazzarotto that this ban is not the renunciation of sovereignty of the Jewish people over the site, but stems from its great sanctity which he said was the birthplace of the Jewish people.
“We cannot as a people allow a situation in which through the Temple Mount and under the guise of a war in the name of religion, murderous terror is deployed against the citizens of Israel. We expect that the pope and the Vatican will demonstrate a clear voice of condemnation to these violent actions and not stand back,” Yosef said.