“Jerusalem in Hebrew, “Yerushalayim” has Salam, Shalom, peace, in its name, it has peace in its heart. And while our hearts are in Jerusalem, they are also with the people in Ukraine. And indeed, from the city of peace, we pray for peace”. So the mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion, among the protagonists of the international summit that last week brought together in Florence mayors and bishops from 20 countries. The attack on Ukraine was inevitably among the leading themes of the meeting, which issued yesterday an appeal calling for an immediate end to the violence in Ukraine, calling for negotiations to find a peaceful settlement to the conflict.
“A sense of pain has seized bishops and mayors, who jointly hope that violence and the use of weapons could come to a halt, great suffering to the Ukrainian people be avoided and that negotiations to rebuild peace could start immediately,” says the charter. The statement came in a document called the “Florence Charter,” signed by bishops and mayors from roughly 60 cities and 20 countries of the Mediterranean.
“No to war, we want peace”, reiterated Dario Nardella, first citizen of the Tuscan capital and the main architect of the meeting together with the president of the CEI Gualtiero Bassetti. Three mayors of major Mediterranean cities made their contribution yesterday: along with Lion, his colleagues from Istanbul (Ekrem İmamoğlu) and Athens (Kostas Bakoyannis).
“All peoples, of all faiths, have a special place, in Jerusalem”, said Lion. “Mosques, synagogues, churches, along with the holiest sites sacred for all humanity: The Temple Mount – Haram al-Sharif, the Western Wall, and The Holy Sepulcher. As the mayor of Jerusalem, I must tell you that we are committed to the freedom of worship for all”.
The State of Israel, he remarked, “will continue to safeguard, nurture and develop Jerusalem,
while respecting all the different faiths”. He finally expressed his hope of having the Pope to visit Jerusalem, as in 2014, “to bring his message of peace and tolerance, as he has done around
the whole world. Jerusalem will be honored to welcome him and indeed all of you, colleagues from around the world, with open arms”.
From top, from left the mayors of Florence, Istanbul, Jerusalem, and Athens and the mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion photographed under the Arch of Titus in Rome, which symbolizes the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem by Roman emperor Titus and the captivity of Jews, which have avoided it until the State of Israel was born.