Monday, December 02, 2013

Pope Francis receives the Prime Minister of Israel

Pope Francis on Monday received Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, in private audience.

According 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 Paul.

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.

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