JNS.org – Pope Francis has been forced to cancel his planned trip to Israel in May due to a labor dispute within the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
A source at the Israeli Foreign Ministry told the Times of Israel that the Vatican had to cancel the trip because most of the ministry’s workers are on strike and cannot make the necessary arrangements for the trip.
Pope Francis, who has garnered considerable acclaim from Jewish leaders for his push for stronger Jewish-Christian relations, announced the trip to Israel and Jordan in January. The visit was scheduled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s visit in 1964.
Due to the Pope’s busy schedule, the visit was canceled and not rescheduled.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was scheduled to address the Israeli Knesset on March 12, was also forced to reschedule his visit due to the labor dispute. Cameron also had to cancel an earlier trip to Israel due to massive flooding in the U.K. in February.
The labor dispute may also force President Shimon Peres to cancel a scheduled trip to China in April.
The Foreign Ministry’s Workers Union is pushing for higher wages and better working conditions for diplomats serving abroad.