Israel’s Prime Minister to meet Pope Francis Monday

Prime Minister Netanyahu lights candles for 5th night of Hanukkah with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta at Rome synagogue.




Prime Minister Benjamin visited the Great Synagogue of Rome on Sunday with his Italian counterpart, Premier Enrico Letta.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Italian Premier Enrico Letta

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Italian Premier Enrico Letta light a candle for Hanukkah at the Great Synagogue of Rome on Dec. 1, 2013.- Photo: AFP

During their visit, Letta said his country’s economic crisis is feeding “the forces of extremism, hatred and intolerance” in Italy.

He pledged, “We will resist always the forces of violence, first verbal then physical, intolerance, xenophobia and racism, and these temptations that are a detriment.”

The Italian leader attended the lighting of the menorah for Hanukkah with Netanyahu. Afterward, he expressed hope that the light would offer hope to Italy, “which needs it.”

Netanyahu is on a visit to Italy, which will include a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday.

In October, an Israeli announcement that Netanyahu would meet Pope Francis turned into a diplomatic embarrassment when it emerged the meeting was never scheduled to take place.

On that occasion, the Holy See had not planned to meet with Netanyahu who was a visit to Italy, despite a statement made by the Prime Minister’s Office to the contrary.

Italian media reported last week that Pope Francis will make his first visit to Israel in May.


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