(Communicated by the Office of the President)
Following the invitation of Pope Francis during his visit to the region
: Pope Francis, President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Abbas will issue a joint call for peace at a ceremony in the Vatican.
President Shimon Peres, will leave on Sunday, June 8, 2014, for a special visit to the Vatican at the invitation of Pope Francis. At the center of the visit will be an event hosted by Pope Francis with President Peres, Palestinian Authority President Abbas and delegations of Jewish, Christian and Islamic faith leaders, at which they will issue a joint call for peace to people across the world. The ceremony, which will take place in the garden of the Vatican on Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 19:00 (local time in Rome), will be attended by delegations of rabbis, imams and Christian faith leaders
The event has been designed to incorporate and respect all three religions and will include readings dedicated to each of the three religions - the Rabbis will read from the Tanach, the Christian leaders from the New Testament and the Imams from the Quran. All the readings will be dedicated to peace. After the religious readings, Pope Francis will read religious verses with President Peres and President Abbas which the three will choose and symbolize the yearning for peace.
President Peres will fly to the Vatican at the head of a delegation consisting of Rabbis, Druze leaders and Imams and will call upon leaders of all faiths to work together to ensure that religion and the name of the Lord will not be used to justify bloodshed and terror. President Peres will place particular emphasis on the importance of inter-religious dialogue. The Israeli delegation, which was composed with the assistance of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, will consist of faith leaders from across Israel who will carry the message of peace. The delegation will include Rabbi Dr. Rasson Arussi of the Chief Rabbinate Council, Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber, Rabbi David Rosen, the Spiritual Leader of the Druze faith in Israel Sheikh Moafaq Tarif and Chairman of the Muslim Community of Israel, Sheikh Mohammad Kiwan. The Palestinian delegation is also expected to include a faith delegation consisting of Islamic and Christian leaders.
The event will take place in a location in the garden without religious symbols and which is not a place of prayer to ensure that it would be in accordance with Jewish tradition. Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yosef blessed President Peres for his work towards peace between nations and for his efforts to ensure religion is not used to justify terror and bloodshed, he also wished him luck for his visit.
The event at the Vatican is taking place at the initiative of Pope Francis who announced his historic invitation during his visit to the Middle East. The Vatican is preparing to provide a live feed of the event to billions of people of faith across the world. In addition to his visit to the Vatican, President Peres will meet with political leadership of Italy including President Giorgio Napolitano and Minister of Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini.