Benedict has made concern over the future of Middle East Christians a
priority. Economic problems as well as violence in the Holy Land and Iraq have led Christians to emigrate from the region.
“I pray that, in consequence of the growing friendship between Israel and the Holy See, ways will be found of reassuring the Christian community that they
have a secure future in the region,” Benedict said.
He said problems facing Christians are related to Israel-Palestinian tensions.
The Holy See recognizes Israel’s legitimate need for security and self-defense and strongly condemns all forms of anti-Semitism, the pope said.
At the same time, he urged Israel to alleviate travel restrictions causing hardships for Palestinians.
The ambassador, in his remarks released by the Vatican, said Israel would do its utmost to help strengthen the Christian communities in Israel as their essential presence in the Holy Land is deeply rooted and historically self-understood.