Earlier this week, Pope Francis met with former Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Vatican in Rome. During their brief but cordial visit, the two discussed the recent dramatic rise in terror attacks and affirmed their commitment to raising their voices in peace in the face of “bloodshed and hatred and terror.”
Upon the ex-president’s arrival at the Vatican, Pope Francis embraced Peres and kissed his hand before telling him he was “excited and grateful” that Peres came such a far way to meet with him.
Throughout their meeting, which lasted over an hour, the leaders acknowledged their moral obligation to address and denounce hate related crimes committed by terrorists in the name of religion, such as the recent shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando or at Sarona Market in Tel Aviv.
“You and I see eye to eye on many things,” the Pope said to Peres. “No one has the right to kill anyone or take a life in the name of God.”
According to a press statement from the Peres Center for Peace, an Israel-based organization which works in medicine, education and business, Pope Francis told the frail 92-year-old “Together we will be a voice for peace and for the stopping of the bloodshed, and against hatred and terror in the name of religion.”
Peres thanked the Pope and voiced regret that since the leaders’ last meeting on the Vatican lawn two years ago, “much blood has been spilled in our region and in streets around the world.”
“We are witnessing increased terrorist acts against innocent people [and] the use of the name of God for terrorist fanatics to murder and kill,” continued Peres. “We cannot remain indifferent to tens of thousands of [people] who have been [killed and] wounded and have lost family members and their homes,” the former president said, no doubt referring to the horrific genocide occurring at the hands of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.