President Shimon Peres met on Tuesday with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss Middle East tensions, the prospect of peace in the region and the threat of anti-Semitism.
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Francis I, 76, is known for his tolerant views and sympathy toward the Jews. He told Peres that anti-Semitism was in contradiction to the true spirit of Christianity. “As a Pope, I will not abide by any manifestations of anti-Semitism,” he said.
Peres, who congratulated Francis on his recent election to the august post, has apprised the Pope of his ambition of Middle East peace, singling out the Arab League peace initiative as a positive development. “It’s good they returned to peace initiatives at this time. It’s very important they again support the two-state solution,” the president said.
Peres has also reiterated his stance that Mahmoud Abbas is a suitable partner for peace talks. At the close of the meeting he has extended an invitation to Pope Francis to visit Israel, saying “your arrival will be greeted with enthusiasm and love by all Israel’s residents of all races and religions. Your arrival would restore faith in the possibility of peace.”
The pontiff expressed his gratitude to the Israeli president saying he would try to come as soon as possible, adding “I learned optimism from you; you are an inspiration to me.”
Posted @ 16:49