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>Israel Faxx
>JN Oct. 31, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 200

Top Theologian Says Religion Fueled Anti-Semitism

An unprecedented Vatican symposium on the Christian roots of anti-Semitism opened Thursday with a top Catholic theologian blaming Christian religious prejudices for a lack of resistance to anti-Semitism in the Nazi era. The statement by Father Georges Cottier was significant because he is very close to Pope John Paul II. The symposium on how Christian attitudes against Jews fueled anti-Semitism began as a leading Jewish group again called on the Vatican to open its files on the Holocaust.

Vatican Prepares A Major "Mea Culpa Over Anti-Semitism"

By IINS News Service

No one is coming out and saying so directly in the Vatican, but insiders are certain: Before the holy year 2000, Pope John Paul II plans a major "mea culpa" over anti-Semitism.

Following the recent apologies by French bishops for their silence during the Nazi era, following the Spanish clergy's announcement of intent to issue a similar apology over the Franco era, there is also movement within the Roman Catholic Church in the Vatican.

A group of 60 theologians are meeting in the Vatican today for a three-day symposium on one of the most difficult chapters in the history of their church.

The Vatican is adopting a cautious approach. The colloquium's title, "Roots of anti-Semitism in the Christian World," has an unpolitical ring, without direct reference to recent history.

Protestant and Orthodox theologians are taking part in addition to Roman Catholics -- but no Jews. Vatican sources say the idea is first to establish "a theological basis" for historic repentance, involving examining 2,000 years of relations between Christians and Jews.

The question is how concretely the mea culpa will be expressed. Papal "in-house" theologian Georges Cottier, who has prepared the Vatican colloquium, makes clear: "There are theologically incorrect and false interpretations of the New Testament which served as an excuse for a diffuse hostility in large areas of Christendom...all too much unjustified behavior was justified in this way. From there, too, came the passiveness and lack of reaction shown by many Christians when the wave of Hitler violence broke out in Europe."

Soldier with Appendicitis Told to Hitchhike

By IINS News Service

IDF reserve soldier, Ibrahim Tariff, 22, was sent by an IDF physician, from a base in the Jordan Valley to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus- by hitchhiking a ride. The soldier complained of abdominal pain, which the doctor feared, may have been an infected appendix. He told the soldier to make the trip, over 30 miles, by hitchhiking a ride.

The soldier apparently collapsed on the way and was brought into the hospital in a private Arab vehicle. He underwent emergency surgery for appendicitis, shortly after his arrival.

According to Sharif, a resident of the lower Galil Region, the physician and his company commander insisted he make his own way to the hospital. Sharif did manage to make his way to Jerusalem, but when he got out of the vehicle and tried to continue to the hospital, he collapsed.

The vehicle stopped and picked up the soldier, dressed in his uniform with his automatic weapon, and drove him to the hospital. Sharif stated when he saw the Arabs coming towards him he was "scared to death," but unable to move due to the severe pain.

In its official response, the IDF stated that the matter will be investigated. Officials in the medical corps view this a most serious incident and stated that there is no excuse for a patient suspected of having an acute appendicitis, not to have been immediately taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

Bedouin Tensions Rising

By IINS News Service

According to a report prepared by Israeli security officials, the approximately 150,000 Bedouins living in Israel may shift their political loyalty and anti-police activities may be forthcoming in the near future in southern Israel.

The report states the Bedouin community is a "time bomb" and it appears inevitable that there will be conflicts between Bedouins and the police. The report follows the ill-famed letter sent by Minister of Agriculture Raful Eitan to the prime minister.

The private letter was leaked to the press, creating a stir. Eitan warned that the loyalty of the Bedouin in Israel was in question regarding the future. Eitan's letter specifically addressed the increasing number of illegal Bedouin homes and pointed out that they live on lands illegally. Eitan called upon the appropriate government agencies to take actions to remove the squatters.

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