Pope Francis will make his first visit to Israel in March.
The pope told
his close friend, Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka, of his lifelong dream to
visit the Holy Land, and of his intentions to visit Israel and Bethlehem,
Channel 2 reported on Sunday.
Skorka is expected to join Pope Francis on
According to Channel 2, the pope hopes his visit will bring a
message of reconciliation.
He dreams of embracing Rabbi Skorka in front
of the Western Wall, in order to send out a message against
Last week, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein visited the
Vatican and invited the pope to visit the Holy Land and be his personal guest in
“I’ll come, I’ll come,” Pope Francis
Earlier this year, President Shimon Peres also invited the
pope to visit Israel.
The pope accepted the invitation “with willingness
and joy,” a Vatican spokesman said.
“I am expecting you in Jerusalem, not
just me but the whole country of Israel,” Peres told the pope during a visit to
Rome in April.
Both of Francis’s two immediate predecessors, Benedict XVI
and John Paul II, visited the Holy Land, including the Palestinian territories,
in 2000 and 2009, respectively.
Lahav Harkov and Reuters contributed to