Pope Francis pressed for the resumption of dialogue between Israel and Palestinian leaders, during a September 3 meeting with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin.
A brief Vatican statement released after the meeting indicated that the conversation had also touched on the crisis facing Catholic schools in Israel, after a dramatic cut in government funding. In an exchange on bilateral relations, both the Pope and the Israeli leader expressed their hope that a long-awaited diplomatic agreement, especially the juridical rights of Church institutions in Israel, will soon be finalized.
Speaking after the papal audience, Rivlin expressed his concern about the acts of violence against Christian institutions by Jewish zealots. “What is it in the public atmosphere which allows extremism and extremists to walk in confidence, in broad daylight?” he asked.