JERUSALEM – On Good Friday, marked by the world’s 2.2 billion Christians as the day that Roman soldiers crucified Jesus of Nazareth on a cross outside of Jerusalem, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin today sent a letter to the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Rivlin expressed the importance of friendship between Jews and Christians.
He asked for prayer for the expansion of peace in the Middle East.
He also sent Pope Francis and Christians around the globe “warm greetings for the holy days of Easter.”
Easter Sunday is the day that Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and proclaim to friends and neighbors that this Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and the Savior of the world.
Rivlin thanked God for the Abraham Accords – peace treaties between Israel and four Arab nations – and said he hoped that peace could soon be established with the Palestinian people.
He thanked the Pope for sending him and Israelis a message of friendship when Francis flew over Israel last month for a visit to Iraq.
Expecting to finish his seven-year term this summer, Rivlin also expressed his desire to meet in person soon to talk further about projects and matters on both of their hearts.
“I hope we will have an opportunity to meet once again to reiterate my commitment to the connections of Israel and the Holy See to the freedom of religion in the Holy Land and to the advancement of the Land of Monasteries project,” Rivlin wrote.
Here is the full letter sent by President Rivlin:
From Jerusalem, the city of G-d, I send you my warm greetings for the holy days of Easter.
Unfortunately, this is now the second year that we celebrate our holy days under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. This pandemic has proved conclusively that the borders between countries area artificial, as the sickness does not differentiate between nations or between the followers of different religions.
I believe this has reinforced our awareness of the importance of cooperation, of the values of brotherhood, humanity, mutual trust and help. We are proud that our vaccination operation here in Israel reaches all the residents of our country, followers of all faiths and to members of all communities.
We are also cooperating with our neighbors in the region, the Palestinians and while we are emphasizing that our lives are shared together.
The Abraham Accords bring a lot of hope and a special opportunity for an era of peace, stability and cooperation to our region, and I hope our Palestinian neighbors would seize this unique opportunity as well.
Your Holiness, may I say how much I valued the message you sent, via the pilot, as you flew over Israel on the way to your visit in Iraq, last month. May the gift of G-d for harmony and peace will reach all.
And finally, as my term as president comes to and end soon, I hope we will have an opportunity to meet once again to reiterate my commitment to the connections of Israel and the Holy See to the freedom of religion in the Holy Land and to the advancement of the Land of Monasteries project.
Please accept, Your Holiness, the assurance of my highest considerations.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.