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Middle East

Israelis welcome Pope's condemnation of Nazis

Pope Benedict XVI made a personal and potent denunciation of the Holocaust yesterday, vowing to Israelis that the brutal extermination of Jews by the "godless" Nazi regime would never be forgotten or denied.

His language appeared to lift Jewish dismay over earlier remarks about the murder of six million Jews by his fellow Germans, which to Israelis had sounded chilly and impersonal.

His words were welcomed by the Holocaust memorial chairman Avner Shalev who said they "strengthen the Pope's message about the importance of remembering the Holocaust" and who rated the visit a "very positive and significant event". Ending a Holy Land pilgrimage which he said made "powerful impressions" of hope and sadness, the pontiff also appealed for peace between Israelis and Palestinians so each can live in their own state. In the final act of worship of his visit, the Pope preached a message of hope for all mankind at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City.