Pope Places Wreath on Zionism Founder's Tomb

Meets with Holocaust survivors at memorial
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2014 9:17 AM CDT
Pope Places Wreath on Zionism Founder's Tomb
Pope Francis prays at the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray, in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel, Monday, May 26, 2014.   (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

Yesterday, Pope Francis made waves by referring to the Palestinian territories as the "state of Palestine"—a papal first—and praying at a West Bank barrier that Palestinians see as a symbol of Israeli oppression. But today he showed some love to the other side of conflict by becoming the first pope to place a wreath on the grave of Theodor Herzl, founder of Zionism, the New York Times reports. He also visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, where he kissed survivors' hands and repeated a Jewish phrase: "Never again, Lord, never again." The pope also prayed and left a note at the Western Wall. "I believe that your visit and call for peace will echo through the region" and help revitalize the peace process, Israeli president Shimon Peres told the pope, per the Jerusalem Post. (More Pope Francis stories.)

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