JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s President Shimon Peres welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to Twitter with a tweet extolling Israel-Vatican ties.
"Your holiness, welcome to Twitter. Our relations with the Vatican are at their best and can form a basis to further peace everywhere," Peres tweeted Tuesday.
Peres’ tweet to the pope came a day after the Vatican announced the pontiff’s Twitter handle. The pope gained some 370,000 followers within the first 24 hours.
Peres met Tuesday with the new Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto at a formal ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, along with four other new ambassadors to Israel.
"I have the highest regard for His Holiness and I was glad to see that he started to tweet," Peres said during the ceremony. "Today we have the best relationship between Israel and the Holy See in the last 2,000 years. That is the main story and I hope those relations will continue to improve. We feel that the relationship now is deeper and wider than ever before, a relationship that looks to the future."