Pope Swaps Easter/Passover Greetings with Israeli President

Pope Francis (R) stands next to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during a private audience at the Vatican on November 15, 2018. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty

ROME — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin telephoned Pope Francis on Wednesday to wish him a happy Easter, Vatican News reported.

During the call, the two leaders exchanged greetings on the occasion of the Jewish feast of Passover and the Christian Feast of Easter.

Mr. Rivlin also thanked the Pope for his “important message” and support against anti-Semitism, while voicing his desire that the Church continue its campaign against anti-Semitism during the Coronavirus pandemic, during which, he said, intolerant actions have increased.

“Your absolute condemnation of acts of anti-Semitism and your definition of these acts as anti-Christian represents a significant step” in the battle to eradicate this phenomenon, the Israeli president stated.

The pope has frequently denounced anti-Semitism in all its forms since his election in 2013.

In 2018, the pontiff said that indifference to anti-Semitism is “the root of death,” while urging all people of good will to never tire of fighting it whenever it emerges.

When dealing with anti-Semitism, our enemy “is not only hatred in all of its forms,” Francis said, “but even more fundamentally, indifference; for it is indifference that paralyzes and impedes us from doing what is right even when we know that it is right.”

In 2019, Francis told members of the American Jewish Committee that the scourge of anti-Semitism that is growing in many parts of the world is “a source of great concern to me.”

A “climate of wickedness and fury” is spreading in many places, the pope said, “in which an excessive and depraved hatred is taking root. I think especially of the outbreak of anti-Semitic attacks in various countries.”

He also insisted on the need to be “vigilant” about the phenomenon of anti-Semitism.

“History teaches us where even the slightest perceptible forms of anti-Semitism can lead: the human tragedy of the Shoah in which two-thirds of European Jewry were annihilated,” he said.

For a Christian, he added, “any form of anti-Semitism is a rejection of one’s own origins, a complete contradiction.”

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