Pope Francis visits Western Wall, Yad Vashem on final day of Mideast trip

Click photo to download. Caption: Pope Francis seen holding a note that he will place in the cracks of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem's Old City on May 26, 2014. Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90.

 (JNS.org) On Monday, the final day of his Mideast trip, Pope Francis visited the Western Wall and the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, among other major sites in Jerusalem.

 At the Western Wall, the pope prayed by the remains of the Second Temple and left a note inside an envelope in one of the cracks between the stones. Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz said, “From this place, this holy place dedicated to you and me and millions of others worldwide, I wish to join you in asking the believers of all faiths to fight hatred and growing anti-Semitism.”

Francis met with Jerusalem Grand Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, urging his “Muslim brothers” to “respect and love one another as brothers and sisters.”

“May we learn to understand the suffering of others,” the pope said, Israel Hayom reported. “May no one abuse the name of God through violence.”

The pope laid a wreath at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl cemetery, where Israeli leaders and soldiers are buried, before visiting Yad Vashem. There, he laid a wreath in the “Hall of Remembrance” and kissed the hands of half a dozen Holocaust survivors.

“Never again, Lord, never again,” said Francis. “Here we are, Lord, shamed by what man, created in your own image and likeness, was capable of doing.”

Francis also visited the Hechal Shlomo Jewish Heritage Center in Jerusalem, together with Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau and Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.

Posted on May 26, 2014 .