Israeli Schools to Prep Kids on Papal Visit, Highlight Positive Catholic-Jewish Connections

May 18, 2014 11:59 am 13 comments

Benedict XVI at the Western Wall. Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – In a first, Israel’s Ministry of Education has prepared a packet of teaching materials for schools in the run-up to the upcoming Papal visit, set to begin on May 25.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the Church of the nativity in Bethlehem, and Amman, Jordan in the two-day Holy Land sojourn.

The new instructional material is intended to spotlight positive connections between the Church and Israel since WWII, a ministry official told Israel’s Ma’ariv news site.

“For years, children learned about Jewish communities in Christendom and Europe,” Dr. Orna Katz told the newspaper.

“Our emphasis is integration and rejection – not just rejection,” Katz said, adding that “the theme of the Righteous Gentile, is, in my opinion, the most important issue … we are preparing the subject well before the papal visit.”

The Knesset Education Committee held discussions on the pedagogical content of the teaching material last week.

“The image of Christianity and the Pope in some children is a negative image that focuses primarily on persecution,” Katz noted.

However, “For years the Jews lived together among Christians and Muslims,” Katz noted, emphasizing that, “We are not denying anti-Semitism, but there are lights and shadows, and we should emphasize the lights, not just the shadows.”

That shadow and light, along with a recent string of political graffiti vandalism attacks against Church institutions, as well as Christian and Arab Muslims in several locations throughout the country, have left Vatican officials wary of tensions during the trip.

Police are stepping up security planning for the visit and are set to flood greater Jerusalem with some 8,000 cops to ensure quiet. Additionally, the Pope has indicated that he plans to travel in an unarmored vehicle, forcing a much wider security cordon.

“You cannot exaggerate the importance of this visit on both a national and an international level,” National Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino told reporters on Sunday.

“All sorts of extreme elements… are trying to create pressure and the impression of pressure,” Danino said, according to the AFP. “We are rejecting this pressure and we won’t let them succeed.”

“We will do everything to ensure they won’t harm Christian holy places… and to ensure the trip goes successfully,” Danino said.

The visit comes on the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s historic trip to Israel. Pope Benedict XVI visited Israel in 2009, and Pope John Paul II visited the Jewish State in 2000.

Chief historian at Yad Vashem, Dr. Dina Porat, is responsible for preparing the material, along with Bar-Ilan University’s head of the Institute for Holocaust Research, Prof. Dan Michman (who also serves as head of the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem), and Prof. Dalia Ofer, former chair of the ministry’s history studies committee.

13 Comments

  • Jewish problems today are with Muslims, not with Christians and mature Jews should appreciate any attempts by Christians to reach out to us in friendship. Some Jews have been dismissive of Evangelical support, and now many younger Evangelicals are supporting Palestinians.

    The main religious battle today is between Islam and Christianity. Muslims thought Jews would be an easy target and that Christians would side with them against the Jews. Many Christians didn’t and Jews have learned a new kind of toughness and suspicion from the Holocaust. Jews have been and will continue to be an intractable problem for Islam. Jews shouldn’t be a problem for other Jews.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    Since Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, and along with that fact it is a crucible of human relations, this trip by Pope Francis is an invaluable pedagogical tool for Israeli children as well as the children worldwide whose horizons are wide enough to to glean new insights in Jewish-Christian-Muslim relationships. Since the educators responsible for composing the materials to be taught in the classrooms here in Israel all stem from Yad Vashem, the ideas of two great , courageous, Christian personalities of venerable integrity, Jan Karski, a righteous Gentile and former professor at Georgetown University, and the other Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a powerful Lutheran teacher and clergyman might be taught to reinforce the positive attitudes and images of Christians in their caring for the Jewish people.

  • All Religions expect ‘conversion’! But that is a matter of a given free will, undertaken in association with Belief, not profiting any demand, coercion or threat! For ME, a Catholic, our Pope has a role to play in ensuring relations inter-Faith are about inclusion, not exclusion! I have of 2 Popes, was enough done to expedite Jews from the midst of the worst Genocide to ever face Humanity, The Holocaust, and have to assume that a non-Response is a clear admission that not nearly enough was done while our Jewish Brethren were being singled out and Slaughtered in ostensibly Christian lands!

  • It so sorry to know that such terrible situation in the Holly Land. we have never knew that such conflict among the faith there. we may need to pray together regardless what ethnic and religion we are. our true prayer might be united us as children of God on this earth. we are all children of God because in our religious history we are having King David, Prophet Abraham, Moses and still many more. so why we should hate each other because there is nothing to win.

  • David Peters

    The Catholic Church has been changing these past fifty years. Even they admit that more is necessary. Let us acknowledge the changes and be realistic about it.
    A Pope who close friend is a Rabbi is sign of amity and mutual respect.

  • Israel’s Education Ministry’s objective has always been to assimilate Jews through their secular indoctrination & re-education centers they call public schools. They should be required to teach Torah. What a disgrace of a government. Those corrupt Torah desecrating politicians are supposed to be role models. Instead, they are the true definition of “the enemy within”.

  • It is sad the response is either A. We shouldn’t respect the Pope or B. We are better then Islam as if we should be better then a negative which is what B is. We should do the opposite of what Islam does which makes us look like we stand for nothing and are whole existing is on hating another religion.

    But I don’t know if it is right to brainwash children for the pope’s visit. That is nothing to be proud of.

    Both methods seem based on weakness. Don’t we have anything to say to the pope or we just feel we should bow down to him. That is the worst message. It suggests we are a puppet of the Pope and it tells our enemies that we are afraid of religious leaders more then truly what is dong right and this pope is trying to push wealth redistribution and jealousy of anyone that has more money as somehow bad. Can’t Israel and it’s government say we don’t agree with that.

    In addition from what i have learned the problem is Israel in that is place FOR RIGHTS OF ORGANIZED RELIGION but not for the belief of God. Correct me if I am wrong but a Hebrew Program I listen to brush up on my Hebrew has a culture segment and mentioned that in Israel a religious figure HAS TO MARRY YOU. Not sure why. Other then giving religious figures tremendous power which actually that creates more extremism if people are afraid they can’t get married if they don’t agree with their religious leaders. Especially for minorities who don’t have many religious figures to marry them.

  • The Pope isn’t coming to Israel to convert Jews. Relations used to be so bad between Catholics and Jews, not just politically, but in people’s private lives. This is such a positive development. Pope Francis is continuing on the road started by Pope Paul V1, John Paul 11, and Benedict XV1. Jews can’t be afraid to meet the Pontiffs at least halfway. Hopefully, some day these preparations and training will be used to prepare Israelis to meet peace loving Imams. Decent people know that a line was drawn with Hitler and they never want to cross over that line again.

    • BEATRIX: the trix the pope is doing is convincing people he is a peaceful man..YEAH FOR JESUX NOT FOR JEWS. WHY ISNT HE RETURNING THE STOLEN ART AND ARTIFACS FROM OUR 2nd TEMPLE..AND FROM WORLDWAR II.

      How about the list of names of forced conversions where the xtians hid jews for safety from the nazis but now they dont remember they were ever Jews.

      BEATRIX how about the other trix such as stopping the missionary activities in Israel where Israel lost approx estimates from 150,000 to 200,000 jews to the deadmangod.

      BEATRIX heres another trix where you xtians make your churches look like synagogues and your proest dress like rabbis seducing Jews to sit with them to learn Torah but slowly indoctrinate the innocent Jews to jesx the dead mangod.

      BREATIX do you want more trix? how aboout the xtian organizations going to senior citizens homes and hospitals converting the weak the tired the dementia patients…

      BEATRIX HERES ANOTHER OF YOUR XTIAN TRIX..how about you xtians going to graves and baptising the dead Jews.

      BEATRIX THE LAST TRIX IS ON YOU
      THE WORLD IS IN CHAOS
      THE LION ATE THE LAMB
      THE XTIAN SWORDS WERE SHARPENED BY THE MUSLIMS
      AND JEUSX IS DEAD

      • Geez. I’m Jewish, but I have Christian friends and relatives through marriage. I have had terrible personal experiences and know Christian history toward the Jews. I’m grateful that recently several Popes have tried to overcome our ferocious past. I’m a reader of Algemeiner, not a punching bag for your neurotic problems, which you so bravely took out on a woman.

  • “The image of Christianity and the Pope in some children is a negative image that focuses primarily on persecution,”
    LATZ GO BACK TO DISNEY LAND.

    EDOM/ESAUV/XTIANIANITY IS EVIL AND A BIG PROBLEM IN ISRAEL.read our prophets KATZ.

    look around you with all the missionary activities by the xtians IN ISRAEL.
    see your own Israeli orginizations trying to deprogram the young Israel Jewish girls from the deceitful xtians.

    look at the many xtians who went through a 2 year ortho conversion process then BANG they invite Jews to their home for shabbat and introduce these Jews to ‘know about jeusx’

    KATZ YOU AND MANY OTHERS ARE AN EMBARRASSMENT THAT YOU LOOK FOR POLITICS AND NOT
    KNOW HASHEM AND TORAH.

    YOU SICKEN ME NOT AVOID MAKING ALIYAH UNTIL
    I “AM GATHERED UP BY HASHEM”
    YOU KATZ ARE THE HINDERANCE TO TRUTH AND TORAH

    Israel “WAS’ for the Jews by the Jews and of the Jews.
    NO TORAH EDUCATION NO ISRAEL HISTORY EDUCATION FROM ITS INCEPTION BY JOSHUA
    UNTIL TODAY…NOTHING…

    WHAT A PITY WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO HASHEMS HOLY LAND IN 66 YEARS THE SPIRITUAL FILTH YOU HAVE CREATED,CORRUPTION PROSTITUION GANGSTERS DRUGS PERVERSIONS OF ALL SORTS….

    CLEAN UP G-DS LAND.
    YOUR POLITICS AND GREED HAS CORRUPTED YOU

  • Mickey Oberman

    Compare Israel’s expected reception of the pope to Islam’s.

  • Will they cover the big sign in Bethlehem warning Christians to convert to Islam if they want to be saved.

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