The Israel Council of Religious Communities is expected to meet with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on November 10, 2011. The Pope had met the Council in Nazareth during his visit to Israel in May 2009, and invited its members to meet again in Rome. The Council accepted the invitation, and the encounter tomorrow will be the first of its kind in the history of relations between Israel and the Holy See, and in the annals of relations between the Pope and the Holy Land.
The Council was established in June 2007, at an event convened in the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in Jerusalem. It was attended by the chief rabbis, the vice-president of the Sharia Appeal Court, the head of the Druze community, the head of the Greek Catholic Church, the Greek Patriarch, the representative of the Armenian Patriarch, the head of the Maronite Church, the head of the Anglican Church, the representative of the Latin Patriarchate, the head of the Ethiopian Church, the head of the Armenian Catholic Church, the representative of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, the representative of the Coptic Church, the secretary general of the Baha’i community, the imam of the Circassian community, the head of the Ahmadi community, the head of the Samaritan community, and the representative of the Beduin community.
Since its establishment, the Council endeavors to foster understanding and bring together people of different faiths and communities in Israel. It has helped to solve conflicts and differences throughout the country.
(Israel MFA On-line)