Foreign Minister to leaders of monotheistic religions: "You as religious leaders can and should spread one interreligious message that expresses the religious values of all of us."

(communicated by Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni met today with the Forum of Leaders of Monotheistic Religions in Israel, comprised of the chief rabbis of Israel, the archbishops, and important sheikhs. The foreign minister discussed with them the political process, Hamas and its connection with other extremist elements in the region, and the dangerous role of Iran in the region.

FM Livni said at the meeting, "Extremist elements misuse religion to turn national conflicts into religious ones. The innocence of believers is misused by religious leaders, who must be balanced by the voices of other religious leaders who have won the admiration of their faithful. There are religious leaders who send children to be killed and to kill others in the name of religion – this is the ideology of hatred and it contradicts the basic tenets of any religion.

The moderate voices must be heard because time is against the moderate powers. The time has come to delegitimize the extremists who use religion to disseminate hatred.

I believe that you, as religious leaders who have earned the respect and admiration of your faithful, can and should spread one interreligious message that expresses the religious values of all of us and rejects the hatred, hostility and terrorism that the extremists disseminate."