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Argentine delegation to follow pope’s upcoming Middle East path

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Jewish religious leaders are part of an Argentine delegation following the path that Pope Francis will take on his scheduled May visit to the Middle East.

The 45-member delegation of businesspeople, politicians and interfaith leaders is leaving Argentina on Tuesday for its trip to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. The group is scheduled to meet with King Abdullah of Jordan, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres.

A meeting with the pope in Rome on Feb. 27 will finish the trip.

“We will undertake the same journey as Pope Frances will as a pre-interreligious trip to warm the pope’s agenda and to show that Argentina can export our coexistence and interreligious experience to the world as a prologue of what former (Argentinian) Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio will do himself as Pope in May,” Claudio Epelman, executive director of the Latin American chapter of the World Jewish Congress, told JTA.

The Buenos Aires-based chapter organized the trip.

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