Pope Francis on Monday received Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, in private audience.
to a Vatican Press Office communiqué, Pope Francis and Netanyahu spoke
of the complex political and social situation in the Middle East,
focusing in particular on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that have
recently been re-launched and expressing their hope that a just and
long-lasting solution, with respect for the rights of both parties, be
reached as soon as possible.
According to the communiqué the project
of a pilgrimage by the Holy Father to the Holy Land was also mentioned.
Other issues tackled by the two men included some questions regarding
relations between State Authorities and local Catholic communities and
relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See regarding which
they expressed the hope for a rapid conclusion of an Agreement which has
been in preparation for some time.
The Israeli Premiere
presented the Pope with a book in Spanish on the Inquisition written by
his father who was an historian. He also presented him with a silver
“hanukkhiah”, a Jewish candle-holder with nine candleholders. On his
part, the Pope presented Netanyahu with a bronze bas-relief of Saint
The cordial meeting took place in the Apostolic Palace, and
after his exchange with the Pope, President Netanyahu also met with
Vatican Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin and Monsignor
Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for Relations with States.