Future Pope Pius XII backed Jewish homeland in Palestine
March 09, 2012
Documents unearthed by the Pave the Way Foundation show that Msgr. Eugenio Pacelli supported a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
In 1917, the future Pope Pius XII met with Nahum Sokolow of the World Zionist Congress. According to a document unearthed in the archives of Yad Vashem, Sokolow said that “I can’t avoid to stress that this revealed an extraordinary amount of friendship: to grant a Jew and representative of Zionism with such a promptness a private audience which took so long and was of such a warmth and took place with all assurance of sympathy, both for the Jews in general and for Zionism in special, proves that we don’t need to expect any obstacles which can’t be overcome from the side of the Vatican.”
In 1917, according to the Pave the Way Foundation, Msgr. Pacelli urged the German government to protect Jews in Palestine from Ottoman reprisals, and in 1926, he urged German Catholics to support a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
“Our research has shown that Pope Pius XII’s positive relationship with the Jewish people began in Pacelli’s youth with his close childhood friend, an Orthodox Jewish boy named Guido Mendes,” said Elliot Hershberg of the Pave the Way Foundation. “Pacelli would share in Shabbat meals, he learned to read Hebrew and borrow the books of the great rabbinic scholars.”
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