Jewish Congress Chief Meets With Pope

October 8, 2007


Source: The Associated Press

Top officials from the World Jewish Congress met Monday with Pope Benedict XVI to voice concern about Iran but also to encourage pursuing a dialogue with moderate Muslims, participants said.

WJC President Ronald Lauder and the group's new secretary general, Michael Schneider, met with Benedict in a private audience at the Vatican.

Schneider said the delegation thanked the pope for his work supporting interfaith relations and invited him to meet with senior Jewish leaders during his planned trip to New York next year.

"We mentioned our extreme anxiety over the Iran situation, not just because of the Jewish angle but because it was a threat to world stability," Schneider said by telephone. "We were extremely anxious to find some way to be helpful in pushing the Iranians to some kind of sensibility."

Schneider said the delegation also repeated the WJC's proposal to reach out to the moderate Muslim world "to establish a dialogue among moderates, and to try to reach some common ground." He said Benedict was in favor of such a move, and voiced "frustration" with the situation over Iran.