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Pope begins final day of Middle East visit

By The Citizen
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Pope Francis is to visit Israel's national Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, on the final leg of his three-day Middle East tour.

After arriving in Israel on Sunday, the Pope described the Holocaust as 'an enduring symbol of the depths to which human evil can sink'.

On Monday, Francis was also expected to visit religious sites in Jerusalem and hold talks with Israel's chief rabbis.

His tour has already taken in Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

On Sunday, the Pope invited Israeli President Shimon Peres and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican to pray for peace. Both accepted.

Monday's itinerary began with a meeting with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which is situated on a disputed holy site known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and Jews as the Temple Mount.

The Pope entered the Dome of the Rock, from where Islamic tradition says the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

Later, he will visit the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism. It is part of the retaining wall of the Temple Mount dating back to a time when a Jewish temple stood there.

Before visiting Yad Vashem, the Pope is to lay a wreath at the tomb of Theodor Herzl, who is seen as the founder of modern Zionism. BBC