20-January-2014 -- Catholic News Agency |

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Argentine Rabbi: Pope's Visit To Holy Land Could Foster Peace

(http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=28800)

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, January 16 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Rabbi Abraham Skorka, rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, believes that Pope Francis' upcoming visit to the Holy Land is a chance to bring a message of peace to the world.

The rabbi, who is a close friend of the Pope from Argentina, said he received news of the Holy Father's May 24-26 visit to the Holy Land "with great joy."

"We dreamed of this visit to the Holy Land, to Israel in particular, based on deep friendship and with a message of peace for all the citizens of the region," he explained.

In statements to the Jewish News Agency, Skorka recalled that when he recently visited the Vatican, he spoke to Pope Francis "about the contribution that he can make from his own place in order to begin to make this vision a reality in some way, if God wills, or at least to give it a much more accentuated dimension in human reality."

"According to the prophets, with a sincere, honest and profound peace in Zion there will be a solid message of peace that will materialize throughout the world. Let us remember the vision of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 2: 'They will beat their swords into plowshares.' No one will prepare for war any longer," the rabbi said.

"If this trip takes place in this way it will be something grand, because the dream is to embrace him before the Kotel (the Wailing Wall). It would be a symbol to try to end 2000 years of disagreements between Jews and Christians and begin a new era," he added.

Over the last three years, Rabbi Skorka and then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio - who is now Pope Francis - became close friends in Buenos Aires and worked together on inter-religious dialogue, meeting numerous times for discussion. Out of those meetings came the book, "On Heaven and Earth," published in 2010, and the television program, "The Bible: Current Dialogue."

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