IRAQ - Jews Prohibited from Pope’s Historic Visit

Arno Froese

Iraqi-born Edwin Shuker, who visits Baghdad regularly, expressed disappointment that the Iraqi government “wasted a historic opportunity to reconcile with its Jews by inviting them to attend the ceremony at Ur and use the occasion to recognize and correct the injustice committed against them by successive governments.”

The pope’s message was given and stood in contrast to the stance of the Iraqi government. “As the children of Abraham, Jews, Christians and Muslims, together with other believers and all persons of good will, we thank you for having given us Abraham,” the pope prayed.

However, the Iraqi government officials ignored the history of the Iraqi Jewish community. This was the case at Ur and also during the pope’s subsequent trip to Mosul, where a Jewish community once thrived. At least half a dozen ancient synagogues have been uncovered in Mosul.

The Vatican sought to include Jews not only in the prayer but also physically at the interfaith meetings. It appears that the Iraqi government stymied efforts for any Jews to travel to Iraq, according to a knowledgeable source. The pope has often called for interfaith unity and has sent Hanukkah greetings. He also wrote a book with Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka when he was Cardinal in Buenos Aires.

Sources say that in recent years, lands that once belonged to the Jewish community have been transferred to Shi’ite religious control. This has been the case in the struggle, for example, over the Tomb of the prophet Ezekiel.

One exception is the Tomb of the Prophet Nahum in Al-Qosh. A shrine has been rehabilitated that has significance to the Jewish community, as well as Muslims and Christians in the town., 7 March 2021

Arno's Commentary

The pope’s courage to visit Iraq must be admired. His attempt to include Jews, however, failed. The reason? Iraqis often align Israel with the US, and there the wounds are deep. According to Wikipedia, “The Iraq body count project documents 180,000 to 208,000 violent, civilian deaths through February 2020.” Other sources, such as the Iraq Family Health Survey, list 1,033,000 deaths due to the war.

Quite naturally, the hatred goes very deep; some experts in the field insist that this horrible death toll gave birth to the extreme radical group ISIS. 

Though it may take time, Iraq too will come under the dominance of globalism, which in the end will unite all nations of the world.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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