America Magazine reports ….On 13 June 2013, Pope Francis granted an interview to Israel’s Channel 2 TV at Santa Marta, the Vatican guesthouse where he lives. That interview made history; it was the first time that a TV crew entered Santa Marta to interview the pope.
What is not known, however, is that immediately afterwards Francis asked to speak in private with the TV reporter, Henrique Cymerman. He opened the conversation with a highly significant question regarding the Israeli-Palestinian situation: “How can I help?” and he then followed up with a series of other pertinent questions.
I learned all this because Cymerman happened to be sitting in front of me on the papal plane from Rome to Amman. When the Pope came to greet each of the 73 journalists from 15 countries that are accompanying him on his “pilgrimage of prayer” to Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, I noticed that he spoke to the Israeli in Spanish and that it was clear that they seemed to know each other well, and had something to say to each other. My curiosity was aroused. Afterwards, I asked the Israeli how he had first come to know the Argentinian pope and he told me this fascinating story.
The story conlcudes “
The Palestinian hopes that Pope Francis can somehow kick new life into the seemingly moribund peace-process, and create a climate in which Israeli and Palestian political leaders can begin in earnest to negotiate a two-state solution which would bring peace and justice for Palestinians and reconciliation between them and the Israelis.
His Israeli colleague, Cymerman, has high hopes that Francis can contribute significantly to precisely that goal, and that he can do so much by gestures as by words in the next two days.”