Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Pope Francis Arrives in Israel After West Bank Visit

Pope Francis has landed in Israel for a two-day visit.

The pope arrived Sunday afternoon at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport via a helicopter ride from Bethlehem, where he spent the morning. Francis will depart Israel on Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres greeted the pope upon arrival, accompanied by a band playing “Jerusalem of Gold.”

“You have arrived in the State of Israel where today members of different religions and nationalities live together – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druse and Circassians,” said Peres in an address upon the pope’s arrival. “Israel is a Jewish and democratic state where coexistence in peace is implemented, and a state that aspires for peace with all its neighbors. Even if peace calls for sacrifices, the sacrifices of peace are preferable to the threat of war.”

In Israel, the pope will visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, as well as several holy sites in Jerusalem — including the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Cenacle in Jerusalem, the traditional site of Jesus’ Last Supper. Jews consider the site to be King David’s burial place. He will also sign a joint declaration with Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, who heads the Eastern Orthodox Christian church.

In Bethlehem Sunday, the pope called for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and referred to the “state of Palestine.” He also called for peace in a speech upon arriving in Israel.

“All of us must become the builders and constructors of this peace,” he says. “All men and women of this land, and the world at large, are asking us to work towards peace.”

He also invited Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican next month for a prayer summit for peace. Peres and Abbas have accepted the invitation, according to reports, despite Israel’s suspension of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority last month.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.