World Jewish Congress head meets pope to issue plea for Gaza hostages

Pope Francis during an audience with Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, in the Vatican on October 19, 2023. (Handout/Vatican Media/AFP)
Pope Francis during an audience with Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, in the Vatican on October 19, 2023. (Handout/Vatican Media/AFP)

The head of the World Jewish Congress meets with Pope Francis in the Vatican, asking the leader of the Catholic Church to help secure the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip.

The audience between Ronald Lauder and Francis comes as Israel revises up to 203 the number of Israeli and foreign hostages believed held by Hamas, amid the escalating war in Gaza.

“We ask Your Holiness to use your power, to use your strength, to get these hostages released,” the WJC quotes Lauder as telling the 86-year-old pontiff, in a statement. “You may be the only person who has the moral authority to do this.”

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