On Monday, November 6, 2017, Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Council for Christian Unity and the affiliated Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews received an award at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheba.

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The Ladislaus Laszt Ecumenical and Social Concern Award was presented to the Cardinal for his endeavors to promote relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people. On this occasion the Cardinal gave a short address on the history and nature of the relationship between the Church and the Jewish people. He drew the contours of the enormous changes that took place after the publication of Nostra aetate in 1965, describing “the fundamental reorientation of the Catholic Church” with regard to the Jews, who became “reliable partners and good friends”. The Cardinal insisted that the Church “draws nourishment and strength from the root that is Israel and would die if it were cut off from this root.”

Later on in the afternoon, the Cardinal participated in a panel that had as its theme: “The (re)turn of God in the 21st century”. Alongside the Cardinal, there were two other speakers, Rabbi David Rosen from the American Jewish Congress, and Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum, from the Zion Kehilla in Jerusalem. Those present were encouraged to participate.

The event was attended by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa and Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Monsignor Marco Formica, in charge of the Vatican Embassy in Israel, Father David Neuhaus and Father Piotr Zelasko, priest of the Beer Sheba kehillah from the Saint James Vicariate, a delegation of two from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and two monks from the Abu Ghosh Benedictine community. The event was chaired by Prof. Chaim Hames, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Ben Gurion University.

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