President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, Thursday 3 October / 4 Tishrei, met His Eminence Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, which is responsible for the affairs of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
The president welcomed Cardinal Sandri on his visit to Israel, marking 800 years of the presence of the Franciscan religious order in the Holy Land. “Israel is committed to freedom of worship and religion for all religions, and always will be,” said the president, adding, “Jerusalem is an open city, welcoming pilgrims and worshippers of all faiths with open arms and warm hearts. As sovereign, the State of Israel ensures that places of worship and those who come to pray are safe and secure. I am proud that our Christian community is growing, unlike so many others facing persecution across the region.”
The president also spoke about the Land of the Monasteries, a project to restore and reopen churches and monasteries close to the baptismal site on the Jordan river, describing it as “a model for peoples and religions working together for common good.” The president added, “His Holiness the Pope expressed his support for the project when I visited him twice at the Vatican. I hope he will come here to open the site with me.”
At the end of his remarks, the president said, “When you go to Ramallah, please take a message of peace from Israelis to our Palestinian neighbors. I truly believe we are destined to live together, not doomed.”
Cardinal Sandri: “Thank you for your warm welcome, Mr President. I bring you greetings from the Holy Father, with best wishes for you and for Israel. I appreciate your enthusiasm for a future of peace and dialogue in this land. Thank you for everything Israel does to ensure that the Christian communities here are flourishing.”
Attached photo credit: Haim Zach (GPO)