Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday sent a letter praising Pope Benedict XVI for reiterating that the Jewish people are not responsible for Jesus' death. The Pope made the comments in a new book released on Wednesday.
"I commend you for forcefully rejecting, in your recent book, a false charge that has been a foundation for the hatred of the Jewish People for many centuries," Netanyahu wrote.
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The Prime Minister also offered to meet again with the Pope: "My fervent hope is that your clarity and courage will strengthen the relations between Jews and Christians throughout the world and help promote peace and reconciliation for generations to come."
"I look forward to seeing you again soon and to expressing my deep appreciation for you in person.""
In the book, the Pope also denies the Gospel writers' claim that Jews
working in the Temple collaborated with the Roman authorities, leading
to Jesus' execution.
"Many readers will find this section of the book particularly
interesting as the Pope reviews the historical positions taken about
this," said Father Joseph Fessio, founder and publisher of Ignatius
Press, the primary publisher of the Pope's books in the US. "He
discusses some very controversial claims that have been made, and draws
on some contemporary scholarly resources to reach a conclusion that I am
certain will generate a lot of discussion."
The book, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week - From the Entrance Into
Jerusalem to the Resurrection, a sequel to a previous book on Jesus'
life, the Pope describes "the final week of Jesus' earthly life."