Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Papal Nuncio in Israel, Archbishop Antonio Franco
According to 'Thoughts from an Oasis of French Catholicism', 'The Israeli Security Services have warned the Holy See that the Popemobile will afford insufficient protection to the Holy Father during his imminent trip to the Holy Land, particularly in Nazareth where some Islamist groups have threatened demonstrations and possible attacks on his person. The Holy See is reported as considering the situation but as yet it seems, noone has suggested a safer alternative to the Popemobile. The same report admits that Israel is badly prepared to receive the Holy Father. Government funds which were promised for the sites he will visit have not been released. '
Badly prepared? So badly prepared YNET News covered the extraordinary 'security drills' the Israeli forces are conducting in preparation for the Papal visit...
Northern District Police held a drill on Tuesday ahead of Pope Benedict XVI's scheduled visit to Israel in May.
Some 100 police officers, firefighters and Magen David Adom emergency services personnel took part in the exercise, as Nazareth Mayor Ramiz Jeraisi and representatives from other northern municipalities looked on.
During his visit the pope is expected to hold a public Mass at Nazareth's Mount Precipice, where, according to tradition, a mob pursued Jesus and tried to throw him from a cliff. He is also expected to visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Jordan River and the Church of the Annunciation, also located in Nazareth.
The exercise focused on dealing with a number of possible scenarios, including a fire during the mass at Mount Precipice, a terrorist attempt to reach the site via a glider from the east [imaginative, aren't they!?], an attack using a truck laden with hazardous materials, the detonation of a car bomb near the pope and a terrorist infiltration of the Church of the Annunciation. [Good Lord...Looks like they've got all the angles covered! Let's pray for him...]
Northern District Police chief Shimon Koren said thousands of officers will secure the pope's visit. Meanwhile, an Israeli delegation of police officers and Foreign Ministry officials left for the Vatican Tuesday in order to make the final arrangement for the pope's visit.
Ahead of Pope Benedict XVI’s May visit to Israel, the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitch, has said that it is not proper to come to the site wearing a cross. The pope wears a cross in all public appearances and is slated to visit the Western Wall on May 12 after a meeting with Muslim religious leaders at the Dome of the Rock. Rabinovitch“My position is that it is not fitting to enter the Western Wall area with religious symbols, including a cross,” said Rabinovitch in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post Monday. “I feel the same way about a Jew putting on a tallit and phylacteries and going into a church.”
Pray for the Holy Father's upcoming Pilgrimmage to the Holy Land