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Friday, May 23, 2014

Pope's visit to Israel has something to offend just about everyone

If you're a Jerusalemite, you might want to consider making a schlissel challah for the Sabbath (a challah with a key inside it, traditionally made on the Sabbath after Passover as a sign of an easy time making a living during the upcoming year). The flag above is meant to depict just that.

That flag is all over Jerusalem because the Pope is going to be here Sunday and Monday. In a bid not to offend anyone, the Pope is managing to offend everyone.
The pope’s decision to fly straight to Bethlehem from Jordan would be a symbolic lift to the Palestinians at any time. But its resonance is even greater given his tremendous popularity, his focus on the downtrodden, and his timing amid the recent collapse of peace talks and the Palestine Liberation Organization’s unity pact with the militant group Hamas.

Francis, who said on Wednesday that his three-day visit was “purely a religious trip,” is striving for balance, and so on Monday he plans to become the first Vatican leader to lay a wreath on the grave of Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism. Paying homage to a man who envisioned the Jewish state has become standard for leaders visiting Israel, but the plan has enraged some Palestinians, in another sign of the risks the pope faces in this charged region.
At each stop on the orchestrated itinerary, the Vatican’s focus — to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a historic meeting of Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs — could be overshadowed as all sides dissect Francis’ every action. Already, his effort at ecumenical outreach, traveling with a rabbi and an imam from his native Buenos Aires, has led to criticism that he is not fully engaging local religious leaders.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said that the Vatican’s use of “State of Palestine” terminology with regard to the trip reflected the United Nations General Assembly’s 2012 resolution that upgraded Palestine’s status, and that arriving in Bethlehem by helicopter made pragmatic sense.
Father Lombardi said that the pope was starting his trip in Jordan partly because Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath, when a visit to Israel would be awkward, and that a Mass in Manger Square, the place of Jesus’ birth, was fitting for Sunday.
In Bethlehem, the pope will meet President Mahmoud Abbas as a peer, underscoring the Vatican’s support for the United Nations’ upgrade of Palestine’s status; welcome banners in Manger Square show the two men and a “State of Palestine” logo.
He will also meet with families hand-picked to highlight the hardships Palestinians face under Israeli occupation, and with children from nearby refugee camps, though he will not enter the camps as predecessors did.

The diplomatic dance means that instead of traversing the half-dozen miles between Bethlehem and the Mount of Olives by motorcade, the pope will take a helicopter to Ben-Gurion International Airport for a presidential welcome demanded by Israeli protocol, and then reboard for a flight to Jerusalem.
In Israel, which is trying to upgrade diplomatic relations with the Vatican established two decades ago, the pope will take a whirlwind tour on Monday, cramming into five hours visits to the Western Wall, Mount Herzl and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, as well as meetings with the president, prime minister, chief rabbis and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.
No terror victims will meet with the Pope.... We wouldn't want him to be offended by the prospect of what a 'state of Palestine' might mean for Israel's Jews. And no rightists will meet with him either. Several of the more prominent ones have been handed administrative orders to keep away from the Pope. Two Jewish youths were arrested in Jerusalem on Friday for posting signs against the Pope.
Two Jewish youths were arrested in Jerusalem on Friday morning for posting notices against the pope, which featured sentiments such as "impure, leave our Holy Land," and "return the stolen Temple tools," a reference to the tools and treasures stolen from the Second Temple by Rome.
A police spokesperson who announced the arrest Friday cited "intelligence information gathered by the Shabak (General Security Services) testifying to the extreme right-wing activists' intentions to disrupt the pope's visit planned for next week, and to take provocative illegal actions to cause inter-religious tensions ahead of the visit."
"In other to foil these activities, administrative orders were given to distance the extremist activists for a temporary period of four days, in order to balance as much as possible security needs with harm to individual rights," added the police.
Administrative orders are a relic of the British Mandate-era legal system, allowing the detention or distancing of individuals without any charges or due process, over suspicion they may harm public order.
Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir addressed the recent spate of arrests, commenting "the time has arrived to teach the police about freedom of expression and democracy. The Jewish people are allowed to demonstrate against the pope."
Kind of reminds you of the college kids in the last post, doesn't it? The Pope can't hear any criticism. And you wonder where the kids get it.... 

And then, there are the traffic jams that all Jerusalemites will face.
The police have posted signs on light poles fences and vehicles stating that from 4 p.m. on Sunday till 1 p.m. on Monday, no vehicles will be permitted to park on Hanassi or Radak streets, which intersect opposite the residence of the president. Vehicles of violators of the ban will be inspected for bombs and then towed to Liberty Bell Park.
There will be no English at the ceremony on Monday.
At the request of the Vatican, there will be only two languages – Hebrew and Italian, the president’s spokeswoman Ayelet Frish said.
I have yet to see a schedule of where the Pope will be on Monday, but the city is likely to be tied in knots. I'm escaping to Tel Aviv.

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At 1:33 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

What else can be expected from a Jesuit?
As the representative as Christ he will 'judge' the Jews.
Matthew 7:1-6

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Inês said...

Oh Dear!
The problems you talk are those common to any stat’s visit:
-traffic jams; closed streets;
-disagreements; and police control of demonstrations.

About the 2nd Temple treasure:
-Rome was sacked –like Jerusalem.
-The table was found, by the Muslims, in the 8th century, when they conquered Toledo, Visigoth' s capital city.
-The table was shipped to the north of Africa, were their emir was.
-The table never reached.
-Other artifacts were not described. Are they still buried in some Visigoth’s site?

Sorry for the English, this is not my mother language.

And thank you for writing, otherwise I wouldn’t know what happens in Israel -the media are s***- sorry for my French.


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