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– Twenty-First Century Crusades?

Prediction 12: A visit by cardinals and/or the Pope himself to Jerusalem/Middle East.

Pope to visit Israel in 2007
Globes Online (Israel)

Pope Benedict XVI will visit Israel in the first half of 2007. The visit was agreed upon by Papal nuncio to Israel Archbishop Antonio Franco and Minister of Tourism Isaac Herzog. This will be a significant political and economic visit, since the Pope will have a large entourage of pilgrims. The visit will also encourage pilgrimages to Israel later in the year.
 

He proposed to Franco that Israel also host the World Conference of Bishops, held every year in Rome, attended by thousands of bishops.


When the late John Paul II made a pilgrimage to Israel in 2000, the last papal visit, he visited sites sacred to Christianity, including Mt. of the Beautitudes, overlooking the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). 60,000 pilgrims came with John Paul II, spent 420,000 hotel overnights, and generated $60 million in tourist revenue.

Herzog said the Ministry of Tourism was ready for the papal visit. He proposed to Franco that Israel also host the World Conference of Bishops, held every year in Rome, attended by thousands of bishops. Herzog believes that such an event would be significant and improve relations with Israel’s Christian community.

Franco asked Herzog to promote an administrative-economic agreement between Israel and the Vatican, and to facilitate the handling of members of the priesthood in Israel and formalizing their status, including visas and movement in the territories. He also asked Herzog to facilitate regular movement of pilgrims to Bethlehem.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, 800,000 Christian pilgrims visited Israel in 2005, half of whom were Catholics, and the rest Protestants and Evangelists. Christian pilgrims accounted for 40% of all tourists. 400,000 Christian pilgrims visited Israel in 2004, half of whom were Catholics.
 

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