MKs expect to be grilled on Vatican

The Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus will walk into a lion’s den in Rome.

April 7, 2010 06:45
1 minute read.
David Rotem.

David Rotem 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )

The Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus will walk into a lion’s den on Wednesday when they hold a press conference in Rome with members of the Italian parliament amid the scandal surrounding Pope Benedict XVI’s personal preacher, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, and his comparison of scrutiny over clerical abuse to anti-Semitism.

In his Good Friday sermon last week, Cantalamessa likened mounting sex abuse cover-up accusations against the pontiff and the Catholic Church in the sex abuse scandals to “collective violence” suffered by the Jews.

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There has also been a dispute surrounding a prayer for converting the Jews that was reinstituted by the Vatican.

The head of the Christian Allies Caucus, Israel Beiteinu MK David Rotem, Deputy Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Orit Noked (Labor) and former tourism minister Benny Elon (National Union) came to Italy to sign an accord initiating the formation of a sister caucus in Rome.

The caucus will be the 18th link that Rotem’s caucus has formed with pro-Israel parliamentary groups around the world.

Asked how he would handle questions about the controversy, Rotem said he would try to sidestep the issue.

“I didn’t come here to fight with the Catholic Church but to talk to Christian MPs who love the Jewish people,” he said from Florence.

But the MKs will have a difficult time avoiding the controversy because the chairman of the new pro-Israel caucus in Italy is the powerful secretary of the Senate, Lucio Malan. The MKs and Italian senators will meet ahead of the press conference to coordinate strategy on how to handle the political hot potato.

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