Report: Pope Francis to Visit Israel in May

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Pope Francis will visit Israel on May 25-26, Italian news agency ANSA reported on Thursday. The report cited CNN's Jake Tapper, who posted the news on Twitter.

ANSA said the Vatican would not confirm the dates.

The report comes after the release this week of "Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), a 224-page document outlining the pope' vision of the church and its mission.

“Dialogue and friendship with the children of Israel are part of the life of Jesus’ disciples,” Francis wrote in the document. “The friendship which has grown between us makes us bitterly and sincerely regret the terrible persecutions which they have endured, and continue to endure, especially those that have involved Christians.”

The Catholic Church, Francis wrote, holds “the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked.”

Francis is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week, during an official visit by Netanyahu to Italy. During the visit, Netanyahu is expected to take part in a Hanukkah menorah lighting on Sunday in Rome’s main synagogue, along with Italy’s prime minister, Jewish community leaders and other.

Pope Francis.Credit: AFP

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