A special Vatican delegation responsible for preparing Pope Benedict XVI’s official visits around the world met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Residence Director-General Efrat Duvdevani, President Peres’s senior advisers, representatives from the foreign, religious services and interior ministries, and officials from Unit for VIP Security on Wednesday at Mr. Peres’ Jersusalem residence to discuss a comprehensive plan for a 2009 visit by Pope Benedict XVI.
During his September 2007 visit to Italy, Mr. Peres invited Pope Benedict XVI to make an official visit to Israel. Mr. Peres said it would be a great honor for Israel to host the pope and strengthen the message of peace, reconciliation and hope in the entire Middle East. At the same meeting, the pope told Mr. Peres that he would be pleased to visit Israel. Details of the visit are now being discussed. President Peres sent an official invitation to Pope Benedict. All are now waiting for an official Vatican declaration regarding the planned visit.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.