In a pre-Rosh Hashana meeting, Pope Francis and a World Jewish Congress delegation discussed the worrying international situation, including the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
Francis received the delegation, headed by WJC President Ronald Lauder, at his residence in the Vatican Wednesday night.
The delegation also included WJC Secretary General Robert Singer; the pope’s old friend Claudio Epelman, who serves as WJC Latin America director; and other Jewish leaders, who had attended a WJC meeting in Berlin.
The meeting took place in a “very intimate atmosphere,” Andras Heisler, president of the Hungarian Jewish umbrella organization Mazsihisz, told Hungarian media. He said Francis offered his best wishes for the New Year but also reiterated his statement made Saturday at a World War I memorial that today’s raging crises around the globe could represent a third world war, “one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction.”