The head of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum is set to have a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday.
Dani Dayan is set to discuss the importance of Holocaust research, education, and remembrance in the Christian world with the supreme pontiff Roman pontiff.
According to media reports on Thursday, those in attendance will also be dedicated to boosting collaborative activities between the Vatican and Yad Vashem aimed at fighting antisemitism and racism worldwide.
Pope Francis visited the Mount Herzl in Jerusalem in 2014, becoming the fourth leader of the Catholic Church to come to the Holy Land. However, the upcoming meeting will become the first-ever such audience held at the Vatican for a Yad Vashem chairman.
"The very fact that I was granted this private audience with His Holiness Pope Francis – the first time a chairman of Yad Vashem has been given the opportunity to meet with a pope in the Vatican – highlights the importance that the head of the Catholic Church places on Holocaust remembrance and the fight against antisemitism," Dayan was quoted as saying.
He added that he will offer the Pope all of Yad Vashem’s “expertise and influence” to address the issues related to the Holocaust and the Catholic Church.
Israel's ambassador to the Vatican, Rafi Shutz, will also attend the meeting.
Pope Francis will receive a replica of a synagogue painting depicting the Ten Commandments being given to the Children of Israel at Mount Sinai. The original painting was recovered in the 1990s from an abandoned synagogue in Romania and is now kept on display in the Yad Vashem Synagogue. It is one of the few remaining Jewish relics that weren’t destroyed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Earlier in May, the Vatican canceled the Pope’s trip to Israel that was scheduled for June due to a wave of terrorist attacks. Pope’s visit to Lebanon was also postponed over health concerns as the pontiff was seen using a wheelchair, reportedly suffering from knee pain.
Due to health complication and a knee problem that is apparently still not healing, rumors are swirling that Pope Francis might be considering stepping down.
Those rumors gained steam when Francis announced a consistory to appoint 21 new cardinals scheduled for August 27, some of which are eligible to vote in a conclave to elect Francis' successor.