TSFAT, ISRAEL — In the final leg of a six-day mission to Israel, an interfaith group of Latin American clergy today visited Ziv Medical Center, donating supplies to Syrian patients wounded in the civil war and evacuated to this Israeli hospital. The mission, which was intended to foster interfaith cooperation in advance of Pope Francis’ trip to Israel next week, met with the wounded patients and offered prayers of recovery. The Latin American Clergy Mission is sponsored by the World Jewish Congress (WJC), the Latin American Jewish Congress (LAJC) and the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC).
“This mission is one of the reflections of Pope Francis’ spirit when coming to the Holy Land next week; it shows how religions can work together to repair a broken world,” said David Nekrutman, CJCUC’s Executive Director.
“The first day of our trip we met with Bishop William Shomali, the Auxiliary Catholic Bishop to Jerusalem, and in his conversation with us, he stressed the importance of bringing Jewish-Christian dialogue to the masses and demonstrating real cooperation,” said Rabbi Jonas Shalom, the WJC/LAJC mission representative. “What better way to demonstrate real cooperation by having clergy visiting a hospital that practices the Golden Rule and gives hope to those who may have lost it.” The group brought with them a gift of hygienic products donated by Super-Pharm Natanya.
“WJC is proud to sponsor this mission, which shows how clergy can cooperate for the betterment of mankind,” said WJC CEO Robert Singer.
Despite the enmity between Syria and Israel, more than 293 patients from Syria have been treated at Ziv Medical Center, which serves the Upper Galilee and northern Golan Heights. During his meeting with the Mission, the hospital’s director, Dr. Oscar Embon, said, “Medicine has no borders and can serve as a bridge between people.” Ziv Medical Center reiterated its commitment that life-saving, humanitarian treatment will be provided to patients evacuated from Syria for as long as needed.
The Latin American Clergy Mission was created three years ago with the emphasis of teaching young priests and rabbis the fundamentals of Jewish-Catholic relations. The goal of these missions is to have the clergy work together in their local communities and demonstrate how religions can work together in solving 21st century challenges.