YERUSHALAYIM - In a diplomatic foul-up, the announcement made last week that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would meet with Pope Francis in Rome was retracted on Monday after it emerged that the Vatican had never scheduled it, Haaretz reported.
The pope’s staff said they only learned of the meeting through media reports. Efforts by Israeli officials to put such a meeting on the calendar at the last minute in order to avoid embarrassment after having announced it last Wednesday proved futile.
It was explained that protocol at the Vatican is such that a request for a meeting only a week in advance is unheard of and out of the question.
The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement: “As opposed to what was claimed, a meeting was planned this week between the prime minister and the Pope during his trip in Italy, but due to a scheduling conflict, it was postponed.”