Pope asked to use voice against Iran

May 14, 2009 at 6:28 PM

NAZARETH, Israel, May 14 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asked Pope Benedict XVI to speak out Thursday against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's anti-Semitism.

Haaretz reported that Netanyahu asked the pontiff to use his "moral voice against the Iranian threat" to Israel.

As he and the pope met in the Israeli city of Nazareth, Netanyahu reportedly told Benedict that Iran poses a threat to peace in the Middle East and around the world. He also said Israel wants to achieve peace with the Palestinians but only the kind of peace that brings security.

"We don't want to dominate another people, but we also don't want a terror state backed by Iran to rise alongside us and jeopardize Israel's safety," Netanyahu was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

For his part, the pope asked Netanyahu to step up the negotiations between Israel and the Vatican over the payment of taxes collected from Catholic institutions inside Israel.

The pope also asked the Israeli leader to increase the number of visas granted to priests living in Arab states who want to visit Israel.

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