Israel said Saturday it was shocked and distressed by Cardinal Renato Martino's likening of Gaza under Israel's military offensive to a concentration camp.
A spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry said the cardinal, whose remarks appeared in an interview Wednesday, adopted the kind of language that Hamas and other Islamic militant groups have used to demonize Israel and equate it with Nazi Germany.
"It was shocking to hear the same kind of terminology from such a high-ranking member of the church," Israeli spokesman Yigal Palmor said Saturday.
"Using this excessive language is not doing justice and is not bringing peace any nearer and he should know better," Palmor said. "This kind of speech is deeply distressing."