Vatican City

Israel's Peres lauds pope's 'authentic commitment to peace'

'Wisdom to understand historical changes' says president

Israel's Peres lauds pope's 'authentic commitment to peace'

Vatican City, February 15 - Israeli President and Nobel Peace Laureate Shimon Peres on Friday praised Pope Benedict XVI for his commitment to peace following Monday's shock announcement of his resignation at the end of this month. ''His commitment to peace and humankind is authentic,'' wrote Peres in the Friday edition of the Vatican daily Osservatore Romano. ''He has the sincerity of a true believer, the wisdom of those who understand historical changes and the recognition that despite our differences we must not become estranged or enemies''. The Israeli president also recalled the ''many gestures'' made by the German-born pope who was forced to join the Hitler Youth as a child and then served in the German army before deserting towards the end of the war in the context of relations between Catholics and Jews. ''He said that the Jewish people are not responsible for the death of Jesus; he reiterated that Jews are 'our elder brothers' and that God has never abandoned the Jewish people. He visited Israel and the Great Synagogue of Rome to express his friendship and solidarity,'' wrote Peres. ''In Jerusalem ... we will remember him with respect and esteem for what he has done,'' he concluded.

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