Pope Francis at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem during his May 2014 visit to Israel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Officials in Jerusalem and the Vatican have been discussing the possibility of Pope Francis visiting Israel this coming autumn, Channel 10 reported on Thursday.
The report, citing unnamed sources, did not provide further details on the alleged deliberations.
The pope previously visited Israel in 2014, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Jewish state and the Holy See.
Channel 10's report Thursday emerged the day after the pontiff and US President Donald Trump met at the Vatican
on the third leg of the American leader's nine-day foreign tour, which also included stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Pope Francis urged Trump to be a peacemaker in what was expected to be a tense meeting after the two had exchanged sharp words last year.
Trump at first did not plan to stop in Rome during his visit to Europe, which some in the Vatican saw as a snub. When he changed his mind, the Vatican squeezed him in at 8:30 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, an unusual day and an unusually early time.
He later flew to Brussels where he was to meet Belgium's king and prime minister on Wednesday evening before a day of meetings with European Union and NATO leaders on Thursday.
Even when the two were sitting at the pope’s desk in the presence of photographers and reporters, the pope avoided the small talk that usually occurs before the media is ushered out.
The two spoke privately for about 30 minutes with translators.
Both men looked far more relaxed at the end of the private meeting, with the pope smiling and joking with Trump and his wife, Melania.
Francis’s interpreter could be heard translating a comment by the pope to the first lady: “What do you give him to eat?” Francis then gave Trump a small sculptured olive tree and told him through the interpreter that it symbolizes peace.
“It is my desire that you become an olive tree to construct peace,” the pope said, speaking in Spanish.
Trump responded: “We can use peace.”
Francis also gave Trump a signed copy of his 2017 peace message whose title is “Nonviolence – A Style of Politics for Peace,” and a copy of his 2015 encyclical letter on the need to protect the environment from the effects of climate change.Reuters contributed to this report.
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