President Rivlin meets Pope Francis


President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin visited the Vatican and Rome yesterday. During the visit to the Holy See the President held a private hour-long meeting with Pope Francis during which the need for Middle East peace, growing anti-Semitism, the issue of Israeli state funding for Christian schools and a wide range of other issues were discussed.

After the meeting, President Rivlin said, “I said to the Pope that I see in him a bridge, and asked of him to serve as such in the most difficult of places for mediation, where there no trust exists between the parties.” The president said that on the issue of anti-Semitism, the pope responded that anti-Semitism is a great evil and agreed that the desire to destroy Israel is rooted in that evil.

According to Haaretz, Rivlin presented the pope with a replica of the Tel Dan inscription, which contains the earliest mention of the Davidic dynasty outside the Bible. The replica of the original inscription, which is housed in the Israel Museum, was made for the pope in honor of this visit.

Later in the day, Rivlin held a working meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, and attended a special event hosted by the Jewish community at the Great Synagogue in Rome.