Pope John Paul II received Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Netanyahu reiterated his invitation for the pontiff to visit Jerusalem. The pope made no public commitment to Netanyahu's invitation to make a "pilgrimage to the Holy Land as soon as possible." "We look forward to receiving you in Jerusalem," Netanyahu told the pope, to which John Paul responded, "God bless Israel." The two men, who were meeting for the first time, also discussed the status of Jerusalem and the progress of Mideast peace efforts. The pope long has expressed a desire to visit Jerusalem, a city sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians. The city is one of the most delicate issues in the ongoing Mideast peace negotiations.