New Pope known for warm relations with Jews. Shimon Peres offers invitation to visit Israel.

New Pope known for warm relations with the Jewish people.

New Pope known for warm relations with the Jewish people.

“Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentinian cardinal who was elected pope late Wednesday and will take the name Francis I, is said to have a good relationship with Argentinian Jewsl,” reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the Times of Israel. “Rabbi David Rosen, the director of interfaith affairs for the American Jewish Committee, told JTA that the new pope is a ‘warm and sweet and modest man’ known in Buenos Aires for doing his own cooking and personally answering his phone.”

“He also has worked with the Latin American Jewish Congress and held meetings with Jewish youth who participate in its New Generations program,” notes JTA. “‘The Latin American Jewish Congress has had a close relationship with Jorge Bergoglio for several years,’ Claudio Epelman, executive director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, told JTA. ‘We know his values and strengths. We have no doubt he will do a great job leading the Catholic Church.'”

Robert Tait, the Telegraph’s Middle East correspondent, reports that Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, in a meeting with leaders of the Polish Catholic church this morning, invited the new Pope to come to Israel: “I would like to take this opportunity to invite the newly elected Pope to pay a visit to the Holy Land at the earliest possibility,” Peres said .”He’ll be a welcome guest in the Holy Land, as a man of inspiration that can add to the attempt to bring peace in a stormy area. All people here, without exception, without difference of religion or nationality will welcome the newly elected Pope.”

Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that “the office of Israel’s chief rabbinate today said it hoped Pope Francis would continue a ‘fruitful dialogue’ that had begun between it and the Vatican.”

“Over the past twelve years there has been a rich and fruitful dialogue between the Holy See and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel on primary issues such as banning terrorism in God’s Name, the sanctity of life, the sanctity of the family unit, etc,” the chief rabbinate said in a statement. “This dialogue has led to significant achievements over the years, such as Holy See’s decision to heed the Chief Rabbinate’s request and suspend Holocaust-denier Bishop Richard Williamson, and the modification of sections of the Good Friday liturgy that were harsh and insulting towards the Jewish People.

“It has been stated by the Holy See that Jews are the elder brothers, and even the parents, of Christian believers. Statements by the two previous Pontiffs have played a significant role in the fight against anti-Semitism in Europe and beyond. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel is confident that Pope Francis, whose good relations with the Jewish People are well known, will keep the same spirit, and strengthen and develop the Roman Catholic Church’s connections with the State of Israel and the Jewish People.”

>> See: New pope hopes for ‘renewed collaboration’ with Jews (Times of Israel)

>> See also: Peggy Noonan’s column about the new Pope: “Go and Repair My House” (Wall Street Journal)

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