MKs expect to be grilled on Vatican

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

David Rotem 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
David Rotem 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus will walk into a lion’s den onWednesday when they hold a press conference in Rome with members of theItalian parliament amid the scandal surrounding Pope Benedict XVI’spersonal preacher, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, and his comparison ofscrutiny over clerical abuse to anti-Semitism.
In his GoodFriday sermon last week, Cantalamessa likened mounting sex abusecover-up accusations against the pontiff and the Catholic Church in thesex abuse scandals to “collective violence” suffered by the Jews.
There has also been a dispute surrounding a prayer for converting the Jews that was reinstituted by the Vatican.
Thehead of the Christian Allies Caucus, Israel Beiteinu MK David Rotem,Deputy Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Orit Noked (Labor) andformer tourism minister Benny Elon (National Union) came to Italy tosign 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.
“Ididn’t come here to fight with the Catholic Church but to talk toChristian MPs who love the Jewish people,” he said from Florence.
Butthe MKs will have a difficult time avoiding the controversy because thechairman of the new pro-Israel caucus in Italy is the powerfulsecretary of the Senate, Lucio Malan. The MKs and Italian senators willmeet ahead of the press conference to coordinate strategy on how tohandle the political hot potato.