Pope Benedict XVI plans to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority in May following a written invitation by President Shimon Peres. The visit would be the third trip by a pope to Israel.
Relations between Israel and the Vatican turned chilly several weeks ago when Jewish leaders objected to Pope Benedict's intentions to make Pope Pius XII a saint. They charged that the pope did not act to save Jews during the Holocaust and did not try to campaign against the extermination of Jews.
Adding to the tension was a statement by a Catholic priest that the pope would not visit Israel until the Yad VaShem Holocaust Center removes captions under a picture of Pius that states he was silent during the Holocaust.