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VATICAN-ISRAELI RAPPROCHEMENT TO GO ON, HOPES RABBI LAZAR

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MOSCOW, April 20 (RIA Novosti's Olga Lipich) - The Vatican and Israel will get closer together during Benedict XVI's papacy, expects Berl Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia, as elected by the Russian Jewish Communities' Federation, or FEOR. "We also hope he will keep denouncing anti-Semitism, whatever form it might take-just as his predecessor to the Holy See was doing," Rabbi Lazar said to Novosti.

"We are sure Joseph Ratzinger is determined to be just as consistent in promoting Jewish-Catholic contacts as the late lamented John Paul II was."

Monsignor Ratzinger was principal Vatican theologian during John Paul's papacy, and prominent in a Catholic rapprochement with the Jewish community.

"He led the efforts to put out, in 2000, the book, 'Memory and Accord: The Church and Errors of the Past'. It comprises documents that testify to errors and misdoings of the Roman Catholic Church toward the Jews. In particular, it strongly denounced anti-Semitic moods that took root in Christian hearts as Nazis were victimizing Jews," said the Rabbi.

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