(Communicated by the Office of the President)
President Shimon Peres, during a meeting at his Jerusalem residence with the
leaders of the Catholic Church in Poland, congratulated the new Pope.
President Peres said, "The newly elected Pope represents devotion, the love
of God, the love of peace, a holy modesty and a new continent which is now
awakening. We need, more than ever, a spiritual leadership and not just a
political one. Where political leaders may divide, spiritual leaders may unite.
Unite around a vision, unite around values, unite around a faith that we can
make the world a better place to live. May the Lord Bless the new Pope."
President Peres invited the new Pope to visit Israel and said, "I would like
to take this opportunity to invite the newly elected Pope to pay a visit to the
Holy Land at the earliest possibility. He'll be a welcome guest in the Holy
Land, as a man of inspiration that can add to the attempt to bring peace in a
stormy area. All people here, without exception, without difference of religion
or nationality will welcome the newly elected Pope."
Addressing relations with the Vatican President Peres said, "The relations
between the Vatican and the Jewish people are now at their best in the last 2000
years and I hope they will grow in content and depths."
President Peres also spoke about the outgoing Pope and said, "I have much
respect for the resigned Pope, Benedict, I found him a dear friend of our
people, a profound thinker and he really contributed so much to bringing
together, historically and otherwise, the relations between the Catholic Church
and the Jewish people. I'm sure that the new Pope, Francis, will continue. He
will remind all of us , as a shepherd of our time, that the Lord loves the poor
not only the mighty, that the Lord calls us to peace not for hatred, that the
Lord calls us to serve each other, to build a world where people are together