Thursday, April 03, 2014

Why Is The Pope Flying to Ben-Gurion?

Did you know that before 1964, when the city of Jerusalem was divided with the eastern section of the pre-1948 municipal boundaries under an illegal Jordanian occupation, Mount Zion was under Israel sovereignty.  However, since it was on the border, the way to Mount Zion was a narrow dirt track. In that year, Pope Paul VI visited Jerusalem.  Due to the fact that he was to cross over from east to west but refused to go through the Mandlebaum Gate Crossing --- the story is that he did not want to recogtnize Israeli sovereignty --- that dirt road was widened and paved properly.  Some us veterans still call it the Pope's Road although the official name is Ma'ale HaShalom and it goes alongside the Protestant Mount Zion Cemetery and Catholic cemeteries.

There is also this:

On January 5, 1964, Pope Paul VI made, for the first time in the history of the Papacy, a papal visit in Jerusalem. The Pope said in Megiddo, where he entered Israel, “We are coming as pilgrims, we come to venerate the Holy Places; we come to pray”.
The Pope thanked unspecified “authorities” for arranging his visit and refused to address Zalman Shazar as “Mr. President”, avoiding any mention of that damned word: “Israel”. On his return to the Vatican, Paul sent a thank you note to “Mr. Shazar” in Tel Aviv”, not Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel. To exorcise the Israeli devil, they refuse to name it expressis verbis.
Pope Paul VI spent only eleven hours in Israel. He avoided Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem, refusing to meet there with then Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim. 

The BBC added:

During his short trip to Israel - it lasted only 11 hours - Pope Paul VI never once called Israel by name, and went out of his way to avoid using the word Jews.
In those days, the Vatican saw Israel as a non-country, and its people as a non-nation.
Pope Paul VI even used the occasion to praise his mentor, Pope Pius XII, defending the latter's silence during the Holocaust.

And now, another Pope is coming.

After Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, here's his schedule:

Sunday, May 25, 2014 08:30 – Departure by helicopter from Queen Alia Internal Airport in Amman for Bethlehem09:30 – Arrival ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Bethlehem Courtesy visit to the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority10:00 – Meeting with the Palestinian Authority. Discourse of the Holy Father11:00 – Holy Mass in Manger Square in Bethlehem. Homily of the Holy FatherRegina Coeli prayer. Allocution of the Holy Father15:00 – Private visit to the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem15:45 – Farewell from the Palestinian Authority at the helipad of Bethlehem16:00 – Departure by helicopter from the helipad of Bethlehem for Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel16:30 – Arrival ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport. Open coverage; details to be issued separately. Discourse of the Holy Father


I am sure that the Bethlehem helipad is probably equivalent to any Jerusalem helipad.  So why go to Ben-Gurion?  To avoid Palestinian terrorists on the roads?

Sure enough, the schedule continues and what do we read?

17:45 – Arrival at the helipad of Jerusalem on Mount Scopus

Now, it could be that Israel presumes its official entrance space is the International Airport.  Or, perhaps, they need more room for the first presence moment of the Pope.  But he is immediately going to Jerusalem in any case. He seems to be at ease with Jews.


What gives?

And by the way, what will be with the maneuvers to obtain control over Mount Zion property?


1 comment:

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