Israel’s Vatican envoy says pope’s remarks on self-defence, hostages ‘fill a vacuum’

Israel’s ambassador to the Vatican has voiced appreciation for Pope Francis’s recent remarks regarding the catastrophic surprise attack by Hamas, saying the pontiff’s call for the release of hostages and his insistence on the right to self-defence filled a “vacuum”.

Raphael Schutz, who has served as Israel’s Ambassador to the Holy See since 2021, told Crux that the pope’s statement “in a way fills a vacuum I felt needed to be filled in recent days, especially recognising the right of Israel to self-defence.”

“This is the most important element in what he said. Of course, calling for the release of the hostages is also very important,” Schutz said.

So far, Israeli authorities report that 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the onslaught, marking the worst in the country’s history, while in Gaza more than 1,100 people have reportedly been killed as a result of Israel’s retaliatory air and artillery strikes.

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