POPE LAYS MEMORIAL WREATH AT YAD VASHEM

Immediately following the reception at the President’s Residence, Pope Benedict XVI visited Yad Vashem, Israel's National Holocaust Memorial Museum. A moving memorial ceremony took place in the presence of President Shimon Peres, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Welfare and Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, Information and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, Minister Yossi Peled, Deputy Pensioner Affairs Minister Lea Nass, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and other invited guests.

The Pope rekindled the Eternal Flame and laid a yellow and white floral wreath, representing the colors of the Vatican flag. After delivering an address, the Pope met with six Holocaust survivors: Ed Mosberg, Israela Hargil, Avraham Ashkenazi, Gita Kalderon, Dan Landsberg and Ruth Bondy. He also met Ivan Vranetic, one of the "righteous among the nations," who now lives in Israel.

In his moving address, the Pope thanked the people of Israel for giving him the opportunity to “stand in silence before this monument.”