President Reuven Rivlin meets with Pope Francis for an official state visit at at the Vatican .
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin met with Pope Francis Thursday for an official reception and exchange of gifts between the two stately figures.
Rivlin was escorted by the Vatican's Swiss guard and was received by Prefect of the Papal Household, Msgr. Georg Gänswein prior to meeting the pontiff at his private library.
While short, the meeting was meaningful.
Rivlin presented Pope Francis with a reproduction of a stone stele, inscribed with Aramaic script reading "House of David." The gift was based on an original dating back to the ninth century BCE, found at the entrance to the ancient city of Dan, located in the Hula Valley.
"I wanted to present you with this inscription, as a symbol of hope and living together, for all faiths," said the elder Israeli statesman.
In return, Pope Francis presented Rivlin with a bronze coin etched with the likeness of intertwined olive branches, symbolizing the dual duties of state and nations to seek peace between peoples.
The Vatican's gift included a personal dedication to President Rivlin which read, "o seek that which unites, and to overcome that which divides."