Pope Francis Advises Israeli Musician to ‘Never React to Provocations’

The pontiff met with YouTube artists from different countries at the Vatican.

Screenshot from YouTube Israeli band Anna RF meeting Pope Francis, Vatican, Italy, May 30, 2016.
YouTube/ ANNA RF

Asked how to avoid religion-based divisions between people, Pope Francis advised an Israeli musician to “never react” to provocations.

The pontiff told this to Ofir Jacob on Monday at the Vatican during a meeting with several creators from different countries who are active on YouTube.

Jacob, who came to the meeting as a member of the Anna RF music band, asked Francis “how can the separations disappear” despite how “we as humans divide ourselves with religions.”

“You as a Jew can remember the first pages of the Bible, after the creation immediately one brother kills his brothers,” the pope said. “I was shocked by that. The Bible starts with a crime” born out of “jealousy and envy, the trend to divide,” he said. “So when provoked, you should never react. Is better to look as a fool than react when you are provoked.”

The Israeli Electro Ethnic Reggae band uploaded the fragment of its dialogue with the pope to YouTube.

Others at the meeting were Matthew Patrick from the United States, Louise Pentland from Britain Lucas Castel from Argentina and Matemática Río from Brazil. The meeting was organized by Google, which owns YouTube, and the Argentina-based Scholas Occurrentes, the Pontifical Academy for art, sports and technology.

Separately, the pope said in a statement Monday that he is preparing to host the second edition of the interreligious Soccer for Peace tournament on July 10 in Argentina. First held at the Vatican in 2014, the tournament this year will take place in the pope’s native country, in the city of La Plata, which is approximately 30 miles from Buenos Aires.

Eran Zahavi, a soccer player for Maccabi Tel Aviv, was among the first international players to share a video message of support on YouTube for the tournament.

“I would like to express all my support for the game for the peace. I send you from here big regards and all the best,” Zahavi said.

Other players who confirmed their attendance include Iker Casillas of Spain, Javier Mascherano of Argentina, and Eric Abidal and Zinedine Zidane of France.