Israel – Chief Rabbi: The Vatican Doesn’t Have to Teach Us the Bible

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    FILE - Pope Benedict XVI receives a framed scroll from Israeli chief Rabbis, Rabbi Yona Metzger, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi (left) and the Israeli Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amarr at the center for the Jewish Heritage in Jerusalem. May 12, 2009 during the second day of his visit to the Holy Lands. EPA/Kobi GideonIsrael – Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said the Vatican “doesn’t have to teach us about interpreting the Bible”, in a comment to remarks by a archbishop who said that the theme of the Promised Land “cannot be used as a basis to justify the return of the Jews to Israel and the expatriation of the Palestinians.”

    “For Christians, one can no longer talk of the land promised to the Jewish people,” Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros, the Lebanese-born head of the Greek Melkite Church in the United States declared, in a press conference after a Vatican Middle East Synod.

    “The priest doesn’t have to teach us about interpreting the Bible. We don’t teach them how to interpret the New Testament,” Rabbi Metzger told EJP in Berlin where he is attending a conference of the European Council of Jewish Communities (ECJC).

    He however expressed the hope that this won’t create a diplomatic incident with the Vatican.

    On Sunday, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon slammed the Vatican synod statement hugely critical of Israel as “political attacks on Israel.”

    “We express our disappointment that this important Synod has become a forum for political attacks on Israel in the best history of Arab propaganda,” Ayalon said. “The Synod was hijacked by a anti-Israel majority.”

    Bishops and patriarchs from the Middle East held a two week long meeting at the Vatican chaired by Pope Benedict XVI on the plight of Christians in the region.

    In their statement, they called on the international community “to end the occupation of Arab lands.”


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