Pope Francis has said he plans on visiting Israel in March on a joint pilgrimage with his friend, Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Channel 2 news reported Sunday.
The Pope, who was formally invited to Israel by President Shimon Peres in April, said he will come with a message of reconciliation between Judaism and Christianity.
According to Channel 2, Pope Francis said he and Rabbi Zakorka have a joint dream of hugging one another next to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
In June, Pope Francis condemned anti-Semitism during a meeting with representatives of the international Jewish community at the Vatican, saying that “because of our commons roots, a true Christian cannot be anti-Semitic.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who will be visiting the pope in a few days' time, said he would present him with a formal invitation to Bethlehem, Channel 2 reported.
In February, Pope Francis became the first pope in modern times to succeed a living pontiff, Benedict XVI, after Benedict resigned. Benedict went to Israel in 2009, and his predecessor, John Paul II, visited in 2000.
Besides being a Rabbi, Abraham Skorka is also a biophysicist, and has authored a number of books on subjects both scientific and spiritual. One was co-authored with the Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio - now known as Pope Francis. He holds post of honorary professor of Hebrew Law at the Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires.
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