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Chief Rabbi Lau Calls Out Pope For “Outrageous Statement”

Chief Rabbi of Israel Rav Dovid Lau on Sunday published a letter to Pope Francis calling him out on a comment he made last month during a conversation with President Isaac Herzog that seemed to equate Israel’s actions in Gaza to Hamas’s atrocities.

Pope Francis said that it is “forbidden to respond to terror with terror.”

“The State of Israel embarked on a just war in the face of attacks from Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen that threatened the very existence of the State,” Rav Lau wrote. “Islamic terrorism, which crosses almost all international borders, has reached our home. The murder, rape, vandalism and abuse suffered by civilians, the incessant calls for the destruction of Israel and the abduction of hundreds of innocents into captivity, including children, women, men, and the elderly, forced upon us a war for our existence. A war for our survival. Our life. Our desire to grow our crops in peace and live with our neighbors in dignity.”

“As a person who is knowledgeable of the world’s history, you are surely aware of the suffering of the Jewish people throughout the ages. The people who introduced the concept of one God and the values of the Torah: compassion, kindness and mercy, were forced to stand up for themselves. An unfortunate mistake did indeed take place, a mistake that sadly resulted in the accidental death of the two women in the churchyard in Gaza. This, however, does not turn us into terrorists. It was not us who initiated the attacks with the stated purpose of murdering, pillaging, humiliating and killing civilians. On the contrary, we are doing everything possible to prevent and reduce harm to civilians.

“I apologize for feeling an inner obligation to respond to your words, but I am concerned that one of the innumerable followers of the Head of the Catholic Church, who eagerly absorb your observations, may perhaps misinterpret your words. Therefore, based on our acquaintance and past meetings, I respectfully request you to change your definition of the events. I pray that peace, calm and serenity prevail in our world.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

5 Responses

  1. If ‘Esav sonay es Yaakov ‘ applied to one person only….it would be the evil tumah pope himself! And you grovel respectfully to him to rethink his words??????

  2. This Pope is acting like an escaped Nazi from Argentina. He’s no different than his predecessor German Hitler Youth Benedict who gave “Pius” sainthood.

  3. It is a true honour for Klal Yisroel to have Rabbi Lau shlit”a as Israel’s Chief Rabbi. He is clear what he stands up for and expresses it in the most dignified and respectful way. A wonderful lesson in how to relate to others. Yirbu kmoso beyisroel!

  4. Klal Yisroel does not see itself represented by Israel or the Chief Rabbi.
    Having said that, yes, he did eloquently and respectfully encourage a wrong to be righted.
    May Hashem protect all the Yiddishe soldiers, hostages and citizens as well as Yidden worldwide.

  5. JPA, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Benedict a”h was a thoroughly decent person, and it’s a sin to imply that he was ever a nazi. He was a member of the Hitler Youth just like every German teenager was. There was no choice in the matter; you were automatically signed up whether you wanted it or not. He never attended a meeting and never wore the uniform. What are you going to do for your next act? Blame him because he was drafted into the German army?!

    And Pius saved thousands of Jews. I am not an expert in how he lived his life, and whether it did indeed show “heroic virtue”. I certainly don’t believe that he is in Gan Eden (though I don’t rule it out). But given their beliefs it makes sense that he would be there, and thus would be a saint.

    Remember that Pius had no obligation to lift a finger for the Jews. We were not his responsibility, and his own people WERE. His first priority had to be to protect his own people, and not do anything that would put them in danger. The Nazis persecuted Catholics anyway; Pius had to make sure he didn’t make it worse. So anything he did for us was “lifnim mishuras hadin”. And he did plenty.

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