We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

The pope who paved the road for IDF paratroopers

21 1 1

It was one of the highest and lowest points in the relationship between the young state of Israel and the Vatican. Pope Paul the 6th came for a visit to the Holy Land. It would be the first time a pope visited the state of Israel. Ever. He was also the first pope to leave Italy in 150 years. The visit that took very humble, and even humiliating proportions, left unimaginable impacts on the Jewish people.

As a whole, to say the least, the visit was not very friendly – to say the least. In preparations for the visit, Israeli diplomats were left scrambling for details, and the pope refused to meet any Israeli officials in Jerusalem. In all of his speeches and correspondences, Pope Paul did not mention the word Israel even once. He avoided any site with significance to Israel and even refused to visit Yad Vashem, though he did send an accompanying cardinal to light six candles in Yad Vashem. His speeches were distant and cold. In official press videos and news reports from his visit, Israel is omitted altogether. The pope insisted that the official Israeli reception for him be held in Megiddo, in Northern Israel. The site is very important to Christians who believe it will also be the site of the ultimate battle between good and evil (hence the word Armageddon).

The Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel caused a huge stir when notifying the government that he would refuse to greet the pope in Megido. Judaism is a religion as big, if not bigger than Christianity, he argued, and if the pope would like to visit him in his office in Jerusalem, he would meet him, but otherwise, not. A major pressure campaign against Rabbi Nissim took place, so powerful that Golda Meir and Levi Eshkol warned him he might get fired. He was also told that because of this, there might be pogroms against Jews in Catholic countries. Rabbi Nissim did not back down from his position and did not show up in Megiddo. Menachem Begin’s Herut party also implored President Shazar not to agree to the Megiddo meeting. In the end, the reception did take place in Megiddo.

After touring Nazerath and northern Israel, the pope returned to Jerusalem and........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

Get it on Google Play