Amidst tight security at the presidential palace in Jerusalem Pope Francis and President Shimon Peres both offered messages of peace and fraternity to a crowd that had waited hours to hear the men speak.
A children’s choir composed of young Jewish, Christian and Muslim students began their performance with a chorus of halleluias.
President Peres told the pontiff “The values which you stand for enrich us and forge righteousness between people. The moral call remains the wisest human judgement,” Peres said.
Pope Francis, who earlier in the day visited the Western Wall, the most revered site in Judaism, assured Peres of his prayers as well as his hope for peace, security and tranquility for Israel.
A group of Arab Christian teenagers who attend Nazareth School in Haifa, were thrilled to be in attendance. Several who spoke with The Catholic Sun said they were part of a soccer team and appreciated the pope’s enthusiasm for the sport.
Wesem Salem, 16, said he wanted to ask the pope to create a soccer team for the Vatican. “My dream is to play for that team,” Salem said.