Pope Benedict XVI confirmed at Sunday mass that he will visit Israel between May 8 and 15.
The pope said he will be in the Holy Land to ask the Lord for his "precious blessing of unity and peace for the Middle East and for all of mankind."
Israeli President Shimon Peres expressed excitement over the papal "peace" mission.
But other Israelis hoped that rather than be yet another push for peace between Israel and the Arabs, the visit might help mend a recent rift between the Jewish state and the Vatican.
Israel and most Jews around the world were outraged last month when Pope Benedict reversed the excommunication of bishop most famous for denying the Nazi Holocaust took place.