Pope Sets March Date for Joint Pilgrimage With Rabbi

Planned visit with friend, the Argentine rabbi and biophysicist Abraham Skorka, is to bring message of reconciliation, says Channel 2.

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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.

Pope Francis and President Shimon Peres exchange greetings during a private meeting at the Vatican, April 30, 2013.Credit: Reuters

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