ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 150

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Report: Pope told Herzog last month Israel can’t ‘respond to terror with terror’

Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, November 22, 2023. (AP Photo/ Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, November 22, 2023. (AP Photo/ Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis held a tense phone call with President Isaac Herzog last month in which he appeared to categorize Israel’s then-ongoing military operations against the Hamas terror group in Gaza as “terrorism,” the Washington Post reports, citing an unnamed senior Israeli official familiar with the call.

It is “forbidden to respond to terror with terror,” Francis told Herzog, who protested this classification, according to the report.

It adds that Israel felt the call went so bad, its officials didn’t make it public.

The Vatican confirms the existence of the call, while not elaborating on its content. Herzog’s office refuses to comment.

Last week, the pope said in public remarks, “We have gone beyond wars. This is not war. This is terrorism.” Jewish groups urged Francis to clarify those remarks and whether he was saying Israel was engaged in terrorism.

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