Pope Francis called for the creation of "bonds of true fraternity" between Jews and Christians in his meeting with the Chief Rabbis of Israel in Jerusalem on Monday morning.
Speaking to the Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau, as well as the Council of the Chief Rabbinate, Pope Francis said that great progress had been made in recent decades in the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people calling the development "a gift from God."
The pontiff said that for Catholics, building ever closer ties with the Jewish people involved reflection on the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, while he said that he hoped Jews would show a continued interest in the shared values with Christianity.
"This is especially to be hoped for among the young generation, to advance mutual understanding of our shared heritage," the pope said. "Respect on matters for which we disagree can help guide us to closer relationship, and together we can make great contribution to the cause of peace."
Speaking before the pope, Rabbi David Lau spoke out strongly against continued anti-Semitism and violence in the name of religion in particular, alluding to Saturday's attack against a Jewish museum in Brussels in which four people were killed, including two Israelis.
"I see you, Pope Francis, as a partner to protest against these crimes, and to educate people in have tolerance and love," said Lau. "Be a partner with us and establish an international inter-faith conference to advance this crucial message."
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post
, Lau said he focused on these issues because condemnation of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in words is insufficient.
"You have to uproot this phenomenon, things have to be done practically to combat it. I think the pope showed interest in the idea of an inter-faith conference such as I mentioned, and I hope and believe that he will accept the request."