Israel unhappy with pope's speech at Holocaust memorial

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli officials and media were critical of Pope Benedict XVI over the speech he delivered at Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum on Monday.

It was hoped that Benedict would use the visit to apologize for the Vatican's silence during the Holocaust, and perhaps even for his own personal participation in Adolf Hitler's Nazi movement.

While he did condemn the attempted extermination of the Jews, Benedict failed to mention the Nazis or the Catholic Church's actions during black period.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin told the Associated Press that Benedict "spoke like a historian, as somebody observing from the sidelines, about things that shouldn't happen. But what can you do? He was part of them."

The Vatican later issued a statement defending the pope's speech, and insisting that he didn't have time to mention everything everyone wants him to mention every time he appears in public.

On Tuesday, the pope continued his 5-day visit to Jerusalem by touring the Temple Mount, the Western Wall and meeting with Israel's chief rabbis.

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