Several Jewish leaders paid tribute to Blessed John Paul II following his beatification.
“The memory of Karol Wojtyla remains indelibly impressed in the collective memory of the Jewish people,” said Rabbi Elio Toaff, the 96-year-old former chief rabbi of Rome. “In the afflicted history of relations between Roman Pontiffs and the Jewish people, in the shadow of the ghetto in which they were reclused for over three centuries in humiliating and depressing conditions, the figure of John Paul II emerges luminous in all of its exceptionality.”
“There is only one reason for my visit today [to the beatification],” added Yossi Peled, a senior Israeli defense official. “To pay homage to the figure of John Paul II. From the moment I arrived in Israel at the age of nine, it is the first time I have agreed to be away from my country on this day which commemorates the Shoah. I have done so to be here in Rome, amidst this crowd and to say thank you in the name of the entire Jewish people.”