Hezbollah Warns Church Leader Against Visit to Israel With Pope

Trip Will Have 'Negative Repercussions'

getty images

By Reuters

Published May 16, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah movement told the head of the Maronite church on Friday that his planned trip to Jerusalem to accompany Pope Francis would have “negative repercussions”.

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai has said he will join the pope on his May 24-26 tour of the Holy Land, drawing criticism in Lebanon which remains in a formal state of war with its southern neighbor Israel.

“We presented our point of view … about the negative repercussions of this visit,” Ibrahim Amin al-Sayyed, head of Hezbollah’s political council, told reporters after meeting Rai at the patriarch’s offices in the hills overlooking Beirut.

“We hope that these considerations are taken into account.”

Israeli forces have invaded Lebanon several times since the state of Israel was formed in 1948, sending waves of Palestinians into exile in neighboring countries. Most recently they fought an inconclusive 34-day war with Hezbollah in 2006.

Border tensions sometimes flare into shelling or shooting.

In the 1967 Middle East war, Israel seized Arab East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, annexed the eastern part of the city in a move not recognized internationally and declared the city its “eternal and indivisible capital”.

Rai has defended his planned visit, saying it is his duty to receive the pope if he comes to the region. “I’m going to Jerusalem to say this is our city, and Jerusalem is Arab,” he told reporters last week.

Rai, a Catholic Cardinal, is the leading official in the Maronite church, which follows an Eastern rite of the Roman Catholic Church. Maronites number about 900,000 in Lebanon, around a quarter of the population, and also have a presence in Syria and Cyprus.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.