(JNS.org) Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday hosted various Christian denominations at a traditional New Years' reception.
Rivlin expressed gratitude for the Catholic Church's Nostra Aetate declaration against anti-Semitism by mirroring Pope Francis's words “A true Christian cannot be an anti-Semite.”
"A faithful Jew cannot be anti-Christian or anti-Muslim," said Rivlin.
“Israel protects freedom of religion for all faiths,” Rivlin added.
"Jerusalem is the center of the world. Billions of people look to this city in hope and prayer. We all have a duty - at the beginning of the New Year and every day - to stand together and show the world that the conflict in this region is not a war about religion, it is a war against hate."
The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Theophilos III, responded to Rivlin's seasonal greeting at the reception.
"[We] wish to express our appreciation for the strong stand you have continued to take in demonstrating respect for all religions, and your condemnation of violence from whatever side it comes.
"We join you in these affirmations and condemnations. Allow us to reiterate our commitment to education based on the principles of moral values that derive from our common heritage. This is paramount to the shaping of our social fabric."