Pope Francis has canceled his visit to Israel that was scheduled to take place on June 15, as part of a tour of the Middle East, Israel Hayom reported on Friday.
The Pope’s office informed the various countries that the trip would not take place due to the Pope’s health problems.
- However, a political source told Israel Hayom that it appeared as though the wave of terrorism in Israel had an effect on the Vatican’s decision to cancel the visit at this time.
Pope Francis was to arrive in Israel as part of a trip to the Middle East where he was also scheduled to visit Lebanon and Jordan. Israel Hayom noted that on April 3, at an impromptu press conference he held on his plane, the 85-year-old Pope addressed the health problems he is suffering from and said, “I have a knee problem that makes it difficult for me to walk. It’s a little annoying, but it’s getting better. Up until a week ago I could not walk at all. Now I can do that.”
Pope Francis previously visited Israel in 2014, though he has since held meetings with Israeli officials, including former President Reuven Rivlin, who visited the Vatican in 2015.
- The Pope has been a proponent of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) and has called for the implementation of a “two-state solution” to solve the conflict between the sides.
Last November, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas held a private audience with the pope and met with top Vatican officials, who emphasized the importance of resuming peace talks with Israel.
The Vatican recognized “Palestine” as a state in 2013. Four years later, in 2017, the PA opened an “embassy” in the Vatican. This occurred after an accord between the Holy See and the PA on the establishment of an “embassy” took effect.
During a 2015 meeting with Abbas, the Pope referred to Abbas as “an angel of peace”, causing outrage on social media.
The Vatican later explained that the reference was mistranslated, and in fact was meant as encouragement for Abbas to pursue peace with Israel.
Source: Arutz Sheva