Netanyahu invites pope to Israel

JERUSALEM, Feb. 3 (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met this week at the Vatican with Pope John Paul II and invited the pontiff to come to Israel. The pope Monday expressed interest in visiting Israel before the year 2000, but said he would first like to see more progress in the peace process. “I invited the pope to visit Israel, for the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus, an important event for Christianity,” Netanyahu told Israel media. “He said he would like to come before then,” the premier said. “We said we would discuss details. We haven’t set a date, but his admiration for Israel was expressed in his response to this matter and that he said, `God bless Israel.’ ” Netanyahu arrived from Davos, Switzerland, where he attended a forum of world business and political leaders.

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