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Rome Reports

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Pope and Israeli President agree on need to restart Israeli and Palestinian peace talks

Pope Francis met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the Vatican, where the two discussed a host of issues related to the Middle East. English, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew were all spoken during the meeting. Despite some confusing moments, everyone was all smiles. "Welcome, Mr. President. It's a pleasure to greet you.â? After the initial formalities were over, the two sat together and discussed world affairs. According to the Vatican, both men agreed on the importance of interreligious dialogue and the need for Israelis and Palestinians to restart peace negotiations. They also spoke about the plight of Christians and other minority groups in the Middle East. Issues between the Vatican and Israel were discussed as well, such as the situation with Christian schools in Israel. After their meeting, they exchanged gifts. Pope Francis gave Rivlin a St. Martin Medallion, along with copies of "Laudato Siâ? and "Evangelii Gaudium.â? Rivlin gave him a stone with historical importance. During their farewell, Pope Francis made a common request to the president's wife. "Pray for me.â? While saying farewell, a smiling Rivlin invited Pope Francis to visit Israel.  "Pleasure. See you soon in Israel.â? It was Rivlin's first time in Rome since becoming president last year. He also met Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, and he plans to visit the Italian president and leaders of Italy's Jewish community. ATO CTV J -PR Up:ATO