Israel's Religious Leaders to Visit Pope in 2011

JERUSALEM, NOV. 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The religious leaders of Israel will travel to the Vatican next year to visit Benedict XVI.

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The news was announced Thursday at the end of the fourth annual meeting of the Council of Religious Community Leaders in Israel, held at the International Center Domus Galilaeae in Galilee, near the Mount of Beatitude.

The council, formed four years ago by Israel’s Foreign MInistry, is comprised of the leaders of the religious communities of Israel, including the two chief rabbis of Israel, the leaders of the Christian churches, the Druse community, the Islamic Appeals Court, the Baha’i community, and the Ahmadiyya, Samaritans, Copts, Ethiopians and Assyrians.

A statement from the Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel noted the significance of the «historic» visit to the Vatican, which it said «reflects the positive attitude of the Vatican and the Pope to the forum and the importance of dialogue to guide and manage the relations between different religious communities in Israel.»

The theme of the meeting of the council was «Freedom of Religion and Worship in Israel.»

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