Peres 'saddened' to hear of Benedict's resignation

President Shimon Peres said he was "saddened" to hear of Pope Benedict XVI's departure, and praised the outgoing pope for strengthening ties between the Vatican and the Jewish state.


"Under his leadership the Vatican has been a clear voice against racism and anti-Semitism and a clear voice for peace. Relations between Israel and the Vatican are the best they have ever been and the positive dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people is a testament to his belief in dialogue and cooperation," Peres said. (AP)