|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
The Pope in the Holy Land: Israel Rolls Out Red CarpetAired March 21, 2000 - 1:08 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The last time a pope came to Israel, the year was 1964 and the visitor, Pope Paul VI, never mentioned Israel by name. Today, Pope John Paul II arrived at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, and virtually the entire Israeli government was on hand to greet him.
CNN's Walter Rodgers joins us now from Jerusalem with the latest on John Paul's historic pilgrimage -- Walt.
WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, Pope John Paul II arrived in Israel saying he came to visit places closely connected to the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He could not be much closer than where he is now. The pope will be spending the night on the Mount of Olives at the Vatican ambassadors residence. The Mount of Olives is rich in New Testament gospel history. That is the traditional site of Jesus' resurrection, at the foot of the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus spent his last night, the night of the Passion, before his trial and resurrection.
As you pointed out, there was an enormous welcome. The Israelis clearly rolled out the red carpet for the pontiff upon his arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport. The President of Israel, Ezer Weitzman, was there to greet him. So was Prime Minister Barak and virtually all of Mr. Barak's cabinet.
This is a much changed relationship between the Jewish people and the Jewish state and the Vatican, which has had a very troubled history with Jews over the last 2000 years. Not any more. This pope has come to close the final chapter in that painful relationship. He is writing a new chapter in which there is a kind of reconciliation between Jews and between the Roman Catholic Church. This church -- this pope is clearly a philosemite. Of all the popes -- 264 of them in the history of the Roman Catholic Church -- this one is clearly most friendly with the Israelis -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Walt, you talk about the pope writing a new chapter. Why just now is he making this first official visit as the pope to the Holy Land?
RODGERS: Well, of course this is not his first visit here. It's his first visit as pope, as you point out, but he came here as a bishop first in 1962, and again in 1964. But I think, perhaps, the answer to your question is that this pope has a sense of drama unlike any other popes, a sense of theater and a sense of history. This is clearly the twilight of his papacy. He's occupied the thrown of St. Peter for 22 years, and this, as I say, is what he dreamed of doing. And perhaps he saved the best for last, this visit to Jerusalem, to the Palestinian territories, and to the Galilee where Jesus' ministry was conducted -- Natalie.
ALLEN: All right, Walt Rodgers live from Jerusalem. We'll continue to follow along the pope's visit there. Thank you.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.