Shimon Peres

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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(...)

Pope Francis lays a wreath at the Hall of Remembrance at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. Photograph: AP/L’Osservatore Romano

“Adam, where are you, where are you, oh man. What have you come to?” Standing in front of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem yester(...)

Pope Francis touches the wall that divides Israel from the West Bank, on his way to celebrate a mass in Manger Square next to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem yesterday. Photograph: Reuters/Mheisen Amareen

On the second day of his visit to Israel and Palestine, Pope Francis brought the full weight of his moral authority to bear on the Israeli-Pal(...)

Pope Francis (3rd from left) conducts Mass beneath a large mural at Manger Square, outside the Church of Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem today. Photograph: Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters

On the second day of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Francis has produced the first real surprise of his trip by inviting both Israeli President(...)

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert after being sentenced to six years in jail for bribery. Photograph: Reuters/Jack Guez

Ehud Olmert has been sentenced to six years in prison on bribery charges, becoming the first former prime minister in Israel to be sent to jail.In Mar(...)

Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu and German chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands after a short press statement in Jerusalem, Israel, on Monday. The governments are meeting for the fifth German-Israeli government consultations on February 24th and 25th. Photograph: Rainer Jensen/EPA

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken her cabinet on a two-day trip to Israel to boost German-Israeli relations that are increasingly burde(...)

Mustafa Sarigul, taking on the AK Party for the mayoral seat of Istanbul.

The walls of the local municipality’s conference room are lined with pictures of Mustafa Sarigül meeting the famous: Pope Benedict, Kofi Annan, Shimon(...)

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