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The major news story in Israel today is Pope Francis’ visit to the Holy Land. The Pope was received by political and religious dignitaries as he embarked on his planned visits the obligatory photo-op stops including the Kotel and Yad VaShem. But of all of the Pope’s activities, nothing delighted the Palestinians more and the Israelis less than his unscheduled stop at the West Bank safety barrier. Pope Francis placed his hand on the wall and prayed.
The safety barrier of course has saved countless Jewish lives and put a near stop to an endless series of suicide bombings and terror attacks.
To many Israelis it was nothing less than an obscenity to see the modern day heir of the empire that expelled them and the faith that tormented them embracing the Palestinian narrative of the wall as a human rights offense rather than a life saving measure.
To add insult to injury, the Pope, or his handlers chose to pose him next to graffiti comparing the genocidal inferno of the Warsaw ghetto to the Palestinian governed City of Bethlehem.
Let us give the Pontiff the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he was unaware of the dramatic reduction in the death of innocents since the barrier’s construction. Perhaps his prayers at the barrier were for a softening of the Palestinian heart so that they might accept their Jewish cousins as a nation and a neighbor.
Update: sent in by a friend on Israellycool. We can only hope this is what the Pope was praying for: