The visit would be the second official trip by a pope to Israel.
Announcing the dates of the long-planned pilgrimage, the pope said he would go
to sites Jesus visited and would pray for:
"the precious gift of unity and peace
for the Middle East and all of humanity."
There has been only one other official visit by a pope to the Jewish state, Pope
John Paul II's pilgrimage in 2000. Pope Paul VI made an unofficial trip there in
1964. Israeli President Shimon Peres, who invited Benedict to visit, called the trip:
"an important and thrilling event of the first order, that emanates a wind of
peace and hope."