Before his recent tour of the Middle East, Pope Francis said his trip would be “purely religious.” Yet, even the infallible Catholic leader could not avoid a dip in the muddy waters of Middle Eastern politics.
1. For the first time in history, the Pope mentioned the “State of Palestine” and made a contentious visit to the West Bank security barrier. (Click photos for to read the relevant articles.) (photo credit: AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
2. During his opening speech in Israel, Pope Francis was pretty frank about out his political vision.
3. Israel’s answer to the West Bank security barrier visit: the Pope visited the memorial for victims of terrorism.
4. On the last day of his visit, Pope Francis visited the Western Wall, where he left a prayer note, and said a prayer at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum. Additionally, in a clear political move, Pope Francis became the first Bishop of Rome to leave a wreath at the grave of Zionism’s Founder.
5. The developing relationship between Pope Francis and President Peres is touching. Last year, Peres even received a birthday card from the Catholic leader. The relationship also led to a bit of controversy when Peres was chosen rather than Prime Minister Netanyahu to join Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for the upcoming prayer at the Vatican.
Leave your opinion. Where do you think the Pope lies on the political spectrum?