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Argentine rabbi, Muslim leader accompanying pope to Israel

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — A Jewish and a Muslim religious leader from his native Argentina will accompany Pope Francis on his Middle East trip.

Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Omar Abboud, friends of the pope from his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires, will join the papal delegation May 24-26 at the invitation of the Vatican. The pope will visit Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

Skorka is rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires. Abboud is director of the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue in Buenos Aires and is a former secretary-general of the Islamic Center of Argentina. Both have been participants in interreligious dialogue with the pope.

“The sensitivity shown by Pope Francis to other religions is a major step in interreligious dialogue,” said Claudio Epelman, executive director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, which organized a pilgrimage in February to Israel for Jews, Muslims and Catholics.

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