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Israeli president to meet with Pontiff

Catholic World News - August 31, 2010

Israeli President Shimon Peres will meet with Pope Benedict XVI on September 2, at the summer papal residence in Castel Gandolfo. Although the meeting will be mainly ceremonial, it comes at a time when the Vatican has a keen interest in Israeli affairs.

The Israeli president does not have a policy-making role in the nation’s government, but serves as a key spokesman. His discussions with the Pope will surely include a briefing on the coming Israel-Palestinian negotiating sessions, and on prospects for completion of a long-overdue juridical treaty establishing the rights of Church institutions in Israel.

Peres, an Israeli elder statesman who served three terms as the country’s prime minister, was elected president in 2007. Before his meeting with the Pontiff, the 87-year-old Israeli leader told a RAI television audience that “relations between the Vatican and the Jewish state are the best since the times of Christ.”

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