Israeli chief rabbi Yona Metzger today praised Pope Benedict's inter-religious outreach after news of his impending resignation emerged.
Relations between Israel and the Vatican had never been better,
"During his period [as pope] there were the best
relations ever between the church and the chief rabbinate and we hope
that this trend will continue," a spokesman quoted the rabbi as saying
after the pope announced he would resign.
"I think he deserves a
lot of credit for advancing inter-religious links the world over between
Judaism, Christianity and Islam."
Rabbi Metzger wished the pope "good health and long days", the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, the German government has said it was "moved and touched" by the surprise resignation of German-born Pope Benedict.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said she fully respected German-born Pope Benedict's decision to resign because of his frailty.
"If the pope himself, after thorough reflection, has come to the
conclusion that he doesn't have the strength any more to carry out his
duties, then this has my utmost respect," Ms Merkel said in a brief
statement at the Chancellery in Berlin. "He had to make a
Speaking at a regular government news
conference, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said "As a
Christian and as a Catholic, one can't help but be moved and touched by
"The German government has the highest respect for the Holy
Father, for what he has done, for his contributions over the course of
his life to the Catholic church. He has been at the head of the Catholic
Church for nearly eight years. He has left a very personal signature as
a thinker at the head of the church, and also as a shepherd. Whatever
the reasons for this decision, they must be respected," Mr Seibert
British prime minister David Cameron also paid tribute to Pope Benedict.
has worked tirelessly to strengthen Britain’s relations with the Holy
See,” Mr Cameron said.“His visit to Britain in 2010 is remembered with
great respect and affection. He will be missed as a spiritual leader to