New York — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has voiced grave concern at the failure of Pope Benedict XVI to mention Israel among the countries he named suffering from terrorism. The countries mentioned in his Sunday sermon were Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and Great Britain.
The papal spokesman, Dr. JoaquÃn Navarro Valls, has responded to an Israeli statement criticizing the omission as deliberate by saying that the Pope had referred in his sermon to attacks in recent days and that Its surprising that one would have wanted to take the opportunity to distort the intentions of the Holy Father … Obviously the other weeks grave attack in Netanya referred to by Israel falls under the general and unreserved condemnation of terrorism. (New York Times, July 26, 2005)
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, We view with grave concern the Popes apparent intentional omission of any reference to Israel while mentioning a number of countries suffering from recent terrorist attacks. It is simply weak and inadequate to say that Israel was implicitly included in the Popes sermon on the evil-doing of terrorists. Which country more than any other does one think of when you mention the subject of terrorism? When you think of suicide bombing, you think of Israel.
All the countries the Pope referred to and others have been struck by horrific acts of terrorism but none on such a continuous, daily basis for the last five years as Israel. What happened in London in recent weeks has been happening in Israeli cities month in, month out.
This omission may send a disturbing message to the worlds Catholic and Christian communities that the Jews of Israel are not important and that on-going terrorism against Israel is of minor concern.