Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday and asked him to condemn Iranian announcements on its intentions to "wipe Israel off the map".
"I asked him, as a moral figure, to make his voice heard loud and continuously against the declarations coming from Iran of their intention to destroy Israel. I told him it cannot be that at the beginning of the 21st century there is a state which says it is going to destroy the Jewish state, there is no aggressive voice being heard condemning this," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu said he was pleased with the pope's response. "He said that he condemns all instances of anti-Semitism and hate against the state of Israel - against humanity as a whole - but in this case against Israel."
The meeting was held near the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth. The two discussed the peace process and then summoned their advisors to discuss relations between Israel and the Vatican and the Holy See's property in Israel.
The pope arrived at the Church of the Annunciation following a mass he held at Mount Precipice before 40,000 followers. Thousands of Christians welcomed his arrival.
'Pope condemns Iran's declarations' (Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO)
Later the pope met with religious leaders including Druze spiritual leader, Muafak Tarif, Rabbi David Rosen, Latin Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo, and Qadi Mohammad Abu Obeid.
All of the leaders agreed that the Galilee is a sacred area for Israel's faiths, and that the cooperation taking place there constitutes a worthy model. The pope said the Vatican would support any activity that would strengthen the bonds between the faiths.
Pope Benedict then went down to the Grotto, where Gabriel is said to have told Mary that she was pregnant, and prayed privately. He then led a prayer with hundreds of Nazareth's residents.
Reuters contributed to this report