President Shimon Peres meets Christian clerics 311.
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
Shimon Peres told top Christian clerics in Israel he still believes it
is possible to achieve peace with the Palestinians, saying that
negotiations should restart with the new year.Also speaking at the ceremony, Interior Minister Eli Yishai called
the new year "a time for spiritual leadership to call for peace and
unity." Spiritual leaders, he added, "have the power to pass along that
message and the meaning of peace and coexistence in the world."
"I don't accept
all the doubts," the president told Christian clerics and leaders at a
meeting Thursday. "It is possible to find solutions and to begin
negotiations because the alternative to not finding a solution is war
and the loss of life."
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Peres told the clerics he is proud of
relations between the Christian church and the state of Israel. "It is
our responsibility and obligation that every religion has freedom of
worship in Israel and to ensure that every religious person can pray to
his God, have access to holy places and enjoy equal rights," he said.
Patriarch Theophilus III used the opportunity to address so-called
"price tag" attacks in recent months, denouncing any attack on places of
worship. He praised Peres "for standing up against the desecration of
holy places that took place recently and whose purpose is to harm
freedom of worship and religion."
"Your strong condemnation
against all types of attacks on holy places, among them Jewish,
Christian or Muslim should serve as an example of leadership to all of
us," he added.