Pope Francis on Monday visited the Western Wall where he prayed and placed a note of prayer. Before making it to the wall, the pope was given a short historical briefing on the site, from Solomon’s temple to Herod’s renovation of the Second Temple, by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz.
Following the visit at the Western Wall, the pope honored the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust at Yad Va’Shem. After hearing the solemn prayer of El Maleh Rahamim, he kissed the hands of six survivors: Avraham Harshalom, Chava Shik, Joseph Gottdenker, Moshe Ha-Elion, Eliezer Grynfeld, and Sonia Tunik-Geron.
“Never again, Lord, never again!” he said. “Here we are, Lord, shamed by what man – created in your own image and likeness – was capable of doing.”
The Pope repeated that phrase in a written message in the museum’s guest book. “With shame for the fact that man made himself the owner of evil; with shame that man made himself into God and sacrificed his brothers. Never again!! Never again!!,” he wrote.
A day after praying at the separation wall in Betlehem, Francis stopped to pray at Jerusalem’s Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial wall at Mount Herzl. The memorial includes the names of Israeli civilians killed in Palestinian and Arab attacks since 1851.
The prime minister’s office said Netanyahu asked Francis to add the memorial in at the last minute. “I explained to the pope that constructing the fence (separation barrier) prevented many more victims of Palestinian terror, which continues today,” Netanyahu said.