President writes to Pizzaballa

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    Associated Press reports that Shimon Peres has promised the Custodian of Religious Sites in the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, that police will increase efforts to combat the vandalism of Christian holy sites by suspected Jewish extremists. This was in response to a request by the Custodian that the president intervene.

    Peres wrote: “Please accept my deep shock at these events, and my hope for continuing a life of tolerance and mutual respect in Jerusalem and all over the country.”

    Dear Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa

    I would like to thank you for the letter you sent me, which was written with a sense of deep concern, and read in the same vein.

    The events you described are liable to harm neighborly relations and the Tolerant co-existence between religions and streams in Israel; they moreover threaten the brotherly relations between Jews and Christians. They run against the law, against Jewish morality, and against faith itself.

    I regret these deeds, which deserve nothing but condemnation.

    The State of Israel is proud of the freedom of religion and freedom of worship it harbors. We were all born in the image of God, and we are equal in our right to be different.

    Upon receiving your letter, I immediately called upon the law-enforcing officials who reiterated before me their obligation to place the required prevention and enforcing activities at the top of their list of priorities. I am convinced that they will do all they can to capture the perpetrators at the earliest possible opportunity and bring them to justice.

    Please accept the profound shock I feel in face of these occurrences and my hope for a continuation to the tolerance and mutual respect in Jerusalem and throughout the country.


    Sincerely yours,


    Shimon Peres