Pope Plans to Visit Israel, West Bank in March

Image: Pope Plans to Visit Israel, West Bank in March

Monday, 14 Oct 2013 11:06 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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Pope Francis plans to visit the Jewish state in March, his first visit there as head of the Catholic Church, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
 
According to a Jerusalem Post report published Monday, the television station said the Pope told Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a friend, he once again would like to fulfill his dream of visiting the Holy Land.
 
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The Pope added that he planned to visit Israel and the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
 
Francis said he dreams of embracing Skorka in front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem to drive home the message that anti-Semitism is intolerable, according to Channel 2.
 
During an official visit to the Vatican last week, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein invited the pope to come to Israel and be his personal guest in the Knesset, The Times of Israel reported.
 
The Pope replied: “I’ll come! I’ll come!”
 
Israeli President Shimon Peres also invited Francis to Israel in April, right after he was elected Pope. 
 
Francis’ two immediate predecessors, Benedict XVI and John Paul II, visited the Holy Land in 2009 and 2000, respectively.
 
Francis’ first visit to Israel came in 1973. He arrived just as the Yom Kippur War broke out.

 
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