President Shimon Peres will visit Pope Francis at the Vatican next week in their first diplomatic meting, whose agenda includes the eternal pursuit for peace in the Middle East, “peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” the war against poverty and relations between Jews and the Vatican.
That is pretty hefty list, but wait. There is more.
The mayor of Assisi, where hundreds of Franciscan monks live, will present its first-ever Medal of Honor for Peace to President Peres for his “unique contribution to dialogue and the cause of peace.”
Everyone, perhaps even Peres himself, has lost count of all the peace awards he has received. Of course, he won the Nobel Peace Prize, but then again, so did Yasser Arafat.
With every peace award, peace seems to be further over the horizon, but that only makes people like President Peres, the pope and the U.S. State Dept. even more determined than ever to get there.
Every year, the “window of opportunity” is closing. Every year, this is the last chance.
Every year, a Palestinian Authority-Israeli peace agreement will be signed in a year.
Perhaps that is what keeps war in the shadow of peace. Or maybe that is what keeps peace in the shadow of war.
Either way, popes are just as good as Peres in preaching peace, pardon the p’s, please.
But, wait. There is more.
Peres will officially invite Pope Francis to visit the Holy Land.
Pope Francis has been to Israel before, when he was beginning his position as Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus in Argentina
He arrived just when the Yom Kippur War broke out, according to the Times of Israel.
So much for peace.
But, wait. There is more.
John Kerry, Hillary Clinton’s successor in going around the world in 80 hours 80 times year, also is Catholic, kind of. He does not back abortion but thinks women have the right to make that decision for themselves. That is grounds for automatic excommunication.
Nevertheless, he says he is Catholic, and he, the pope and Peres undoubtedly will be in communication to resurrect their favorite hobby, the peace process. Kerry needs it more than anyone, because without it, he would have to stick to less enjoyable jobs, such as making peace with chemical weapons, teaching the Muslim Brotherhood all about democracy, and convincing himself that Iran is just another tolerant Muslim country that really likes Jews and Christians, especially Catholics.
Israel already is getting geared up for pope’s visit, which may happen later this year.
The pope really has excited Israeli officials.
Etzion Evrony, Israel’s ambassador to the Vatican, recently met with Pope Francis after his installation.
The pope greeted him in Hebrew. Wow.
He said “Shalom.”
That means “peace.”
It also means “hello.”
And it also means “goodbye.”Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu