Isaac Herzog, co-leader of the centre-left Zionist Union, during a campaign stop at a fruit and vegetable market in Tel Aviv on Thursday.  Polls suggest the Israeli electorate is getting used to the idea of him as prime minister. Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters

With four days to go before the Israeli election, polls continue to show the centre-left Zionist Union maintaining a three- to four-seat lead over (...)

Israeli forces have demolished the east Jerusalem home of a Palestinian who killed two pedestrians and have started to erect barriers at the entranc(...)

Pope Francis exchanges his skullcap with a member of the faithful during his weekly public audience in St Peter’s Square in Rome on Wednesday. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Could Pope Francis be in line for a Nobel Peace Prize? Eighteen months into what already looks like a momentous pontificate, there has been specula(...)

Mohammed Abu Khudair, 16, is seen in this undated family handout picture. Photograph: Handout via Reuters

Israel’s prime minister phoned the father of a murdered Palestinian teenager today to promise that the attackers would be prosecuted, the government s(...)

Newly elected Israeli president Reuven Rivlin makes a speech after the presidential vote at the Knesset yesterday. Photograph: Amos Ben/Getty Images

Reuven “Ruby” Rivlin, a member of Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, has been elected the country’s president following a vote by the Knesset.A forme(...)

Pope Francis is flanked by Israel’s President Shimon Peres, right, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during an evening of peace prayers in the Vatican gardens yesterday. Photograph: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

“I’m glad to see you,” Shimon Peres said. “I’m glad to see you too,” responded Mahmoud Abbas. When the Palestinian and Israeli presidents met yesterd(...)

Israeli president Shimon Peres speaks as Pope Francis and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas  listen in the Vatican Gardens yesterday. Photograph:  Max Rossi/Reuters

As first steps go, this was one of huge solemnity.There is no guarantee that last night’s three-way prayer in the Vatican featuring Pope Francis, Isr(...)

Pope Francis waves at the end of a special audience for Carabinieri paramilitary police in Saint Peter’s Square yesterday. Photograph: Reuters

In an initiative that looks much more political than spiritual, Pope Francis tomorrow will hold an unprecedented joint prayer service in the Vatican w(...)

Pope Francis waves at the end of a special audience for Carabinieri paramilitary police in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican today. Photograph: Max Rossi/Reuters

President Shimon Peres of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine will visit Pope Francis at the Vatican next Sunday to pray for peace in the (...)

Pope Francis salutes as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, yesterday. Photograph: Andrew Medichini/AP

Back in Rome yesterday after his historic three-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Francis called his trip “a great gift” for the church. Speakin(...)