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Pope’s Visit To Israel Fraught With Potential Minefields




The official Israeli government Web site for Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming trip to Israel and the West Bank promotes the May 11-15 visit as a “Bridge for Peace.”

Others, however, describe it as a potential minefield where various factions may try to exploit the pope’s presence for political gain.

“Both Jewish and Muslim ideologues are determined to stop the pope crossing that bridge,” wrote Catholic religion journalist Damian Thompson in his blog for the U.K. Telegraph, “either by smearing him as an anti-Semite or by making his visit to a Palestinian refugee camp look like a politically motivated reproach to Israel.”

The German-born pontiff leaves for the Middle East on May 8; he will spend three days in Jordan before flying to Israel.

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