Thursday, November 17, 2005

The President of Israel in the Vatican

A historic visit.


President Moshe Katsav traveled to the Vatican on Thursday for talks with Pope Benedict XVI, marking the first official visit to the Vatican by an Israeli head of state. At the end of their 25-minute private meeting in the Pope's library, Katsav presented Benedict with framed photos of recently discovered mosaics that are believed to be from the Holy Land's oldest church.
This really makes me happy! Any sign of further reconciliation with the Jewish people is good. He's invited the Pope to go to Israel as well. I do hope the Holy Father accepts!

And maybe, this means that nasty little row from a few months back is behind. I guess the talk about visas and taxes will continue though ...


assiniboine said...

Probably it doesn't mean that the little row is over: Israel has an extremely good public relations arm, and more power to them. The Palestinians are sorely inept in that department. Possibly in considerable measure because, as a Palestinian friend of mine suggests, many of the more able-to-connect with-the-West Palestinians have done exactly that, to the extent of deciding that it's time to get on with getting a life (which means getting over the loss of Palestine), in the form of migrating to the West and, as happens, in a generation or two being essentially undifferentiated white people with, sometimes, mildly exotic surnames.

One hopes that the Vatican won't in its laudable efforts to be on friendly terms with Israel, abandon its concern for the Palestinians. With the near-extinction of Christian Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank (the Melkite Greek Catholic Church describes itself as entirely a church in diaspora these days) there is some danger of that happening, not as a matter of principle but just as a matter of practicality, alas.

(My Holocaust-survivor Jewish father-in-law used to say he was deeply ambivalent about the state of Israel: using the evils done to European Jews like himself as justification for turning around and doing evil to others. Needless to say he was circumspect about voicing that opinion.)

Gashwin said...

No, I don't think we'll see any abandonment of the Palestinians. The Holy See definitely does this balancing act, for sure. But is quite committed to Palestinian statehood, has denounced the wall, and periodically speaks up against the daily harrassment of ordinary Palestinians.

Besides, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michael Sabah is often accused of being too pro Palestinian.