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December 22, 2014
Monday, May 26, 2014

As Mideast trip nears end, Pope navigates minefield of symbols

A handout picture released by the Vatican press office shows Pope Francis praying at the Western Wall, Judaism''s holiest site, in Jerusalem''s Old City.
Pope Francis navigated the minefield of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and humbly bowed to kiss the hands of Holocaust survivors today, the last day of a Mideast trip laden with bold personal gestures.

"Never again, Lord. Never again!" he said in the dimly lit Hall of Remembrance in the Yad Vashem Museum which commemorates six million Jews killed by the Nazis in World War Two.

The fourth pope to visit Israel, Francis had earlier became the first to lay a wreath at the tomb of Theodor Herzl, seen as the founder of modern Zionism that led to Israel's foundation.

At the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he also made an unannounced stop at Israel's "Memorial to the Victims of Terror", the day after unexpectedly praying at a towering Israeli security wall that is despised by Palestinians.

In a mirror image of the halt at the graffiti-smeared wall, Francis put both hands on the neat stone and marble monument and bowed his head - an image that pleased his Israeli hosts who had smarted in silence over yesterday's impromptu stop.

"I pray for all the victims of terrorism. Please, no more terrorism," the softly spoken pope said at the memorial, which is engraved with the names of Israeli civilians killed mainly in attacks by Palestinian militants.


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Tags:  Pope  Palestine  Israel  Holy Land  Francis  





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