By Matthew Wagner, Jerusalem Post
9 January 2008
During a short verbal exchange Wednesday at the Ben-Gurion Airport Terminal, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger thanked President George W. Bush for the US's military intervention in Iraq.
"I want to thank you for your support of Israel and in particular for waging a war against Iraq," Metzger told Bush, according to the chief rabbi's spokesman.
Bush reportedly answered that the chief rabbi's words "warmed his heart".
Metzger's stand on the Iraqi war, while reflecting the Israeli majority and Orthodox Jewry, is not shared with most US Jews. The American Jewish Committee's annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion, published last year, found that 70 per cent of US Jews disapprove of the Iraq war, with 28 per cent backing it.
In a related story, Metzger was chosen as one of the 12 most influential religious figures in the world for a CBS documentary called In God's Name that appeared at the end of December.
Newsweek also devoted a story to the documentary complete with pictures of Metzger and the other religious leaders.
Metzger was chosen along with figures such as the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams and heads of the Sikh and Muslim religions.