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April 30, 2013 11:52 am

Peres Invites Pope Francis to Israel Following Meeting at the Vatican

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Israeli President Shimon Peres meets with Pope Francis April 30, 2013. Photo: Israel GPO.

Shimon Peres invited the newly appointed Pope Francis to Israel Tuesday following talks between the two at the Vatican.

“I would like to invite you to visit the Holy Land. I am sure that you will be received warmly by all the citizens, regardless of religion, race or nationality. The citizens of Israel see in you a leader of peace and good will. The sooner you visit the better as in these days a new opportunity is being created for peace and your arrival could contribute significantly to increasing the trust and belief in peace,” Peres told the pope.

During the meeting Pope Francis raised the issue of anti-Semitism, telling President Peres that anti-Semitism goes against the beliefs of Christianity and that it must be opposed in every country in the world and every corner of the globe.

Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, was well known for his close relationship with Argentina’s Jewish community. During his Easter address last month he made an appeal for peace between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.

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Francis’ two immediate predecessors, Benedict XVI and John Paul II, visited the Holy Land, including Palestinian Authority controlled areas, in 2000 and 2009 respectively.

Upon landing in Rome Peres told Italian media he believes the pope can play an important role in promoting the Middle East ‘Peace Process.’

While in Rome Peres will hold talks with the Italian leadership on Iran, the involvement of Europe in the  ‘Peace Process’ and  economic relations between the two countries.

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