Talk To The Wall

One can just imagine the glee of Israeli government officials when they got wind of the fact that His Holiness the Pope would grace Israel with a visit. I imagine it sounded something like this:

And so, money was spent, security details planned, traffic obstructed, and so forth.

All so some dude in a white outfit, wearing a big gold crucifix with a dead guy on it for bling bling, could come to the Holy Land and give the Jews a moral upbraiding for their supposed mistreatment of the “Palestinians.”

Well, Shimmy Peres will get his Kodak moment and Israel will pride itself on its ecumenical demeanor. Meantime, the Pope has planned every bit as meticulously as the Israeli government for this trip. This photo for instance. No doubt a great deal of planning went into that pose. This photo will likely be imprinted on the world conscious for decades to come.

From the AP: "Pope Francis prays at Israel's separation barrier on his way to a mass in Manger Square next to the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Sunday, May 25, 2014. Francis called the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate "unacceptable" as he landed Sunday in the West Bank town of Bethlehem in a symbolic nod to Palestinian aspirations for their own state. " (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

From the AP: “Pope Francis prays at Israel’s separation barrier on his way to a mass in Manger Square next to the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Sunday, May 25, 2014. Francis called the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate “unacceptable” as he landed Sunday in the West Bank town of Bethlehem in a symbolic nod to Palestinian aspirations for their own state. ” (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

In it, the Pope mocks the manner in which Jews pray at the Western Wall, except, instead of being close to the holy of holies, the Pope is praying to the wall that keeps terrorists from blowing up Israeli buses and decapitating three month-old infants.

Pallywood refers to the wall as “The Separation Wall,” so naturally the AP follows suit.

Jews pray at the Western Wall because it’s as close as they can get to the Holy of Holies most days. But when the pope is in Israel, Jewish prayer at the Wall is every bit as verboten as on the Temple Mount.

Funny how one wall keeps Arabs from killing Jews and the other is the final proof of the indigenous status of the Jewish people in the Holy Land.

Who knows? Maybe his Popiness is praying that we won’t ask him about those Temple treasures he’s got stashed away in the Vatican.

Talking to the Wall

Detail from the Arch of Titus. Romans carrying the sacked Temple Treasures to Rome, where as far as anyone knows, they are to this day.

About Varda Epstein

A third-generation-born Pittsburgher on her mother’s mother’s side, Varda moved to Israel 34 years ago and is a crazy political animal who spams people with right wing political articles on Facebook in between writing about education as the communications writer at Kars for Kids, raising her 12 children, and noshing constantly on fried food

2 incoming links

The Pope’s visit to the Holy Land | Anne's Opinions
26 May 2014 at 2:05am
[…] at the barrier is going to make anti-Israel fodder for years to come. It almost ...
Говорить со Стеной | Форум Daily
03 June 2014 at 10:06pm
[…] «разделительной стеной», поэтому, ...

Facebook Comments

  • Jim from Iowa

    Way to make the case for Israel with the world’s 1.3 billion Roman Catholics, Varda. Is this Israellycool’s approach to Catholic outreach? Why not make more enemies of Israel with your bigoted and insensitive comments about the Pope and Catholics in general? I’m not a Catholic nor am I even a believer in a supreme being, but your post is truly offensive and reflects badly on this site.

    • Norman_In_New_York

      Unfortunately, sometimes the truth hurts. The pope’s antics at the separation barrier are indeed offensive.

    • http://www.kars4kids.org/blog Varda Meyers Epstein

      I have no interest in Catholic outreach. I have no interest in making enemies, either, but apparently, the Pope has used the hospitality shown him to mock the Jews by pretending to pray at a fence erected to protect them from terrorists. That is probably the most offensive photo I’ve ever seen of a contemporary pope in my lifetime. And Israel has to pay for this privilege?

    • shilotoren

      The Pope has “handlers” to manage his visit and here they let the Pope be used to spread cheap propaganda. SInce we see the Pope as “fallible” (eg. human), we see no reason to withhold criticism. If the Pope acts like a politician then he will be treated as such.

      • Jim from Iowa

        The people who run the Vatican are not a bunch of innocent naves, that’s for sure. They are very political and immersed in worldly affairs, agreed. So the Pope’s handlers should be criticized for allowing him to be used by the Palestinians to the disadvantage of the Israelis. My complaint to Varda is the content and tone she chose to voice her criticism of this event. To belittle the religious beliefs of others is not an effective way to make the case for Israel.

        • http://www.kars4kids.org/blog Varda Meyers Epstein

          The Pope mocked the religious beliefs of Jews at the wall used to keep them safe from their enemy. His naves didn’t do that. HE did that. I criticize HIM.

        • shilotoren

          Is the the Pope above and beyond “mocking”? IMO he is human and perhaps there is the problem. If he is a religious leader of 1.3 billion, then he is still on the “learning curve” , or at least it appears so. Maybe he should take some lessons from that guy from Tibet.

          Act like a jerk and get called out for it. Even if you are the Pope. Take note next time the Pope makes an announcement on Humae Vitae (or whatever). Varda won’t bat an eyelash but there will be plenty of noise.

          • Jim from Iowa

            I kind of thought the whole point of the Israellycool website was to advance effective advocacy for the state of Israel. It’s hard to see how making light of the most important symbol for faithful Christians and to belittle the Pope who 1.3 billion Catholics consider to be the “Holy Father” helps Israel in any way. That really is my concern with Varda’s post.

  • Travis

    The photo is extremely unfortunate however do not get distracted from the fact that Vatican-Israel relations have in general been excellent ever since the anti-Zionist Pope Paul VI left this world in 1978.

    • http://www.kars4kids.org/blog Varda Meyers Epstein

      I disagree. Perhaps cosmetically.

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  • Art Deco

    People are striving to be offended by this. It’s not that important.

    What the Holy Father needs to be working on (in conjunction with the Oecumenical Patriarch) is bringing peace to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The business there is such an ongoing scandal that you couldn’t blame the Israel Antiquities Authority if they just flushed the clergy out and maintained it as a museum.

    There’s going to be some degree of abrasion between the Holy See and Israel because the Holy See has constituents in the Near East – very vulnerable constituents. Ditto re the Oecumenical Patriarch.

    N.B. to Jim in Iowa: the Jewish press in the United States (Commentary and perhaps some others) and sundry advocacy organizations (Foxman at al) do much more to injure comity between the Church and world Jewry and between Catholics and Jews contemplating history and public affairs than fussing over this stuff. The only figure in Israel that’s mixed up in that mess that I can think of is Robert Wistrich (though I guess since Martin Peretz lives in Israel now, him too).

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