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November - December 2010 Christmas/ Bethelehem Holy See/H. Land

Education/School Miscellaneous

Archaeology

Population/ Statistics

No. 473

- Jerusalem: Heads of churches issue Christmas message .......................... 2   - Jerusalem Patriarch reviews lights, shadows of 2010 ............................... 3   - This Christmas, Israel's migrants and refugees hope for better future ...... 4   - Bethlehem hospital grows ......................................................................... 5   - Vatican: let peace begin in Jerusalem ....................................................... 6   - Aide: Mideast Synod marked by "Realism of Hope" ............................... 7   - Pope sends prayers to victims of Israeli forest fire ................................... 8   - Holy See: Palestinian-Israeli conflict needs a solution ............................. 9   - Arab Institute brings hope, opportunity to Mideast ................................ 10   - The school that saved Ramle ................................................................... 11   - Israel's Religious Leaders to visit Pope in 2011...................................... 13   - Christians in the Middle East essential for the survival of the Arab World ................................................................................... 11   - Religious Community Leaders discuss freedom of religion ................... 15   - Bishops in the Holy Land call for three Days of Prayer for Iraq ............ 15   - Jesuit honored for saving 3 Jewish children............................................ 16   - Man recalls how Pius XII hid Jews in the Vatican ................................. 16   - Bureaucracy causes chaos at West Bank checkpoints ............................ 18   - New road leading to St George Monastery ............................................. 20   - Nazareth: Patrimony of Humanity?......................................................... 20   - 1,800-year-old Bathing Pool uncovered in Jewish Quarter .................... 22   - Government committee to set aside another NIS 50 million for national heritage projects ................................................................... 24   - Bethlehem tourism swells as violence and terror ebbs ........................... 25   - New CBS Report: Muslims over a Third of J'lem Population ................ 26   - Kinneret drops to all-time low - in popularity, too ................................. 26   -’Jews now a minority between the River and the Sea’ ............................ 26   - On eve of 2011, 75,4 % of Israelis are Jews ........................................... 29  

V.I.S.

- SELECTIONS OF ITEMS FROM VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE   - Resumption of talks between the Holy See and the PLO ....................... 29   - Meeting of Permanent Working Commission Holy See-Israel ............... 30  

C.I.C.

- Antonio Barluzzi, a Roman architect in the Holy Land .......................... 31   Editor: Jerzy KRAJ, ofm


Jerusalem: Heads of churches issue Christmas message The heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem, including the Latin Patriarch and the Custos of The Holy Land, have issued a joint Christmas message for 2010 condemning violence in any form and saying that peace and reconciliation requires the active participation of people of faith. ÂŤ"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among all people!" (Luke 2:14) We, the Heads of the Churches of Jerusalem, share with you in praising God for the birth of the holy child on a cold night in Bethlehem so long ago. We praise God for the faithful examples of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Joseph. We praise God for the shepherds who were first to share the Good News of the Savior's birth. We praise God for the witness of all the heavenly host in their joyous proclamation of God's desire for peace on earth that good will among all people will prevail against the darkness of sin. Peace continues to elude the world our Lord was born to save. Too many people live under the threat of violence and political persecution. We, the Heads of Churches of Jerusalem, see the role of the Church to be one of encouraging all people to build bridges of understanding and not walls of separation. We condemn violence in any form. Violence has not and can never be accepted as the way to bring about a just and lasting peace between peoples. We believe that hope for peace and reconciliation requires our active participation as people of faith. For hope to remain alive in the hearts of the faithful, we must take an active role in bringing hope for peace into reality. To this end, we want to inform you that the Heads of Churches take a serious role in building bridges of peace and reconciliation through our participation in the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land. This Council brings together Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders to discuss issues of shared concern for our people here and for mutual understanding around the world. We strongly believe that "on earth peace, good will among all people " starts with developing relationships built on mutual respect and understanding. We believe this Council's experience of cooperation and communication is an encouraging example to our people and to the world that in building bridges, God's peace is possible. Believing, with Mary, that "with God nothing will be impossible" (Luke 1:37) we proclaim with the heavenly host this Christmas, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among all people," praising God as we hope for the future of all of God's people. May God bless the celebration of the Savior's birth this Christmas season. May God bless every effort for peace and may the one and living God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit bless, preserve and keep you, now and always. Amen.Âť Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarchate Patriarch Torkom II Manoogian, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land Archbishop Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate Archbishop Joseph-Jules Zerey, Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate Archbishop Abouna Matthias, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate Archbishop Paul Sayyah, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate Bishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East 2


Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate Fr. Rafael Minassian, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

Jerusalem Patriarch reviews lights, shadows of 2010 Notes Satisfaction With Record Numbers of Holy Land Pilgrims JERUSALEM – In his traditional message for Christmas, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem offered eight points to "emphasize above all the positive events [of the Middle East] without, however, excluding the suffering and the concerns that remain." His Beatitude Fouad Twal discussed issues ranging from the synod on the Middle East to the forest fires in Israel. Regarding the Oct. 10-24 synod, the patriarch thanked the Pope for convening it. He said, "During that time, we were able to put our fingers on our wounds and our fears, and at the same time express our expectations and our hopes. The synod called on Christians in the Middle East to live as true believers and good citizens, not distancing from public life, but involved in the development of our communities, whether in Arab countries or in Israel." The patriarch expressed his satisfaction at record numbers of pilgrims to the Holy Land. He explained that by November, some 3 million people had visited the Holy Places. "This number could still increase to arrive at nearly 3.4 million visitors, a figure never reached before, even in 2000, the Jubilee Year," he said. Future projects Patriarch Twal welcomed an improvement in the process for obtaining religious visas, though he affirmed, "We still have a long way to go." He also praised the resumption of talks between the Holy See and the Palestinian Authority for the application of the basic agreement signed in 2000. And he decried the massacre of Christians in Baghdad in the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, saying, "These innocent victims are added to the thousands of victims of fundamentalism and violence afflicting our world." He spoke of his trips to Central and South America, where he was able to visit people of the Middle East who have emigrated to these lands. "Now they are all well integrated into the local society, and many have expressed their willingness to support our projects in the Holy Land and come on pilgrimage," he said. "Among the major projects that the Latin Patriarchate is trying to accomplish, I would like to mention: the new pediatric hospital in Bethlehem which will be named after Pope Benedict, the University of Madaba, which will open in October next year, and the new Pilgrims’ Center in Jordan, on the site of the Baptism of Christ." Significant beginnings Patriarch Twal praised "a very significant gesture and [what] may be a beginning of a fruitful collaboration in the future, when peace will be established in this troubled land." He was speaking of the offer from the Palestinian Authority to make available teams of firefighters for the forest fires of Haifa. Still, he said, "We suffer from the failure of direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority." 3


But the patriarch continued: "This should not lead us to despair. We continue to believe that on both sides, and in the international community, there are men of good will who will work and put their energies together in their commitment for peace." Zenit – 24 December 2010

This Christmas, Israel's migrants and refugees hope for better future For Sudanese pastor Matthew Deng, Israel is not only the Promised Land but also his personal refuge. On the second floor of a dilapidated commercial building in Tel Aviv's Neve Sha'anan neighborhood Sudanese pastor Matthew Deng stands preaching next to a plastic palm tree with a chain of lights and glittery tape wrapped around it. Between his Arabic sermons a synthesizer keyboard plays joyous tunes and the members of the community teeter on their feet. With their eyes closed men, women and children raise their hands and sing along: "There is life in Yeshua, hallelujah." "We call the lord by his real Hebrew name," Deng explains. For him Israel is not only the Promised Land but also his personal refuge. Before becoming a pastor the now 31-yearold was living for almost four years in Cairo, having fled from the continuous raids and bombings in his Christian village in southern Sudan . Then also in Egypt in the December of 2005 security forces massacred an estimated 200 of his countrymen when breaking down a protest. This was when he like many other Sudanese decided to cross the Sinai desert into Israel. "But here we are not welcome either," says Deng, who was held for three months in two different prisons in the Negev upon his arrival and then started his life in the country as a cleaner in an Eilat hotel. In the makeshift church behind the red curtains on the walls shabby blankets give an account of the increasingly pressing needs of the Sudanese in Israel. "I found theses people sitting in the park a couple of weeks ago. The police had dropped them off; they had no money and nowhere to go," he says. Now around 200 men are sleeping together on the bare floor in the main church room. Today some of the refugees from the war-torn Darfur region will celebrate their first Christmas ever as they recently converted from Islam to Cush, the South-Sudanese variation of Christian faith. The baptism was celebrated by Pastor Matthew in the Jordan River. 31year-old Hamed Al Zin can think of nothing else but going home. He left his wife and five children to earn money in Israel. "But we are not allowed to work here. So I want to leave as soon as possible," he says. In the overnight Christmas service Hamed and the other members of the Church of the New Cush in Israel will pray for peace in their homeland. They are building their hope on a referendum to be held on January 9, 2011, about the potential secession of Sudan’s Christian south from its Arab Muslim north. Before that happens, Deng the pastor has to find new rooms for his community and the refugees. The lease of his church expires at the end of December. ‘God called me to Israel’ “It is enough” reads a sign on the blackboard of another chapel in the neighborhood, the Lift Up Your Head Church run by Jeremiah Sunday Dairo, 40. The pastor, with his cuff4


link shirt, persistent smile and loud laughter, seems like the stereotype religious spiritual leader. “God called me to Israel. When he said go I go,” he explains about his immigration five years ago. Like the Sudanese group, his congregation is in financial straits. But the Nigerian is dedicated to making the most out of Christmas. For 100 Shekels community members can join a day trip to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The fare pays for the bus ride and lunch. A commemoration CD and a certificate can be purchased to show “their friends at home that they have been to the holy place,” Dairo says. At the Lift Up Your Head Church, a Pentecostal congregation with 500 predominately African members, optimism is a core value. Here, too, the rooms are used to accommodate homeless refugees, about 60 during the holidays. 15 members are in jail waiting for their deportation. But the pastor claims: “The children of Israel have suffered a lot but God saw them through. So he will also help us. There is always a way with God.” The choir is the pride of Dairo’s community. It will perform international classics like “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and church songs like “You Are the True Light.” And there will be a proper Christmas dinner with chicken, rice and salad. Two streets further toward the new bus station in Neve Sha’anan, food will play the central role on Christmas Day. Ruby, 37, head of the Lord Our Righteous Ministry, explains: “Filipinos always eat a lot. We will have rice cakes, Chinese dishes, meat and pasta. But it will not taste like at home because there we cook with clay pots and charcoal that we do not have here.” Ruby’s church, like the African communities, is located in a nondescript commercial building. A massive padlock hangs on the door. “They steal everything,” she explains about the rising crime in the quarter. It has not always been like this, not when she arrived here almost fifteen years ago, the last time Ruby saw her parents. “We can not go and visit, because our visas were canceled when we married”, she says. A permanent residence permit is the biggest Christmas gift that she could imagine. When it is kindergarten time in the church hall, the boys play with their Spiderman figurines while the girls watch a TV program about firemen. Ruby’s seven-year-old daughter Braise tugs at her mother’s pants and starts talking in Hebrew. “Ken”, the mother answers before switching to English. Like pastor Dairo’s flock the Filipinos will go on a bus trip to Bethlehem on Christmas Day. Ruby is very excited about it: “My friends in the Philippines can not believe how lucky we are.” By Thore Schroeder Haaretz – 24 December 2010

Bethlehem hospital grows Children Cared for in the Land of Jesus' Birth BETHLEHEM – An expanded Caritas Baby Hospital was inaugurated in Bethlehem, with new facilities for training mothers how to care for their children. In the city of Jesus' birth, this hospital maintained by international donations opened a "School for Mothers," where the mothers of hospitalized children will reside and be given formation to be able to look after their children better. An outpatients clinic is now also available. The hospital dates back to Christmas of 1952, when Swiss priest Father Ernst Schnydrig, on pilgrimage in Bethlehem, saw a father burying his son who had died because of a lack of medical care. 5


The priest hastened to found a medical center to assist all children born in Jesus' land, regardless of their race or religion. At first, the center had only two rooms. Later, the Caritas Baby Hospital opened in 1978, but the founder was not present at the inauguration as he had died just a few days earlier. Benedict XVI visited the hospital during his apostolic pilgrimage to the Holy Land in May of 2009. The staff totals 215 persons, including doctors, nurses (who are trained in the center itself) and administrative personnel. It has 82 beds. In 2009 it registered a total of 32,300 children assisted. The center is served by the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth of Padua, who give moral and spiritual support both to the staff and to patients and their families. Inauguration The inauguration ceremony of the new buildings was on Dec. 18. The new installations were blessed by His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. Patriarch Twal reflected in his homily that the work of the Caritas Baby Hospital is faithful to the teaching of Jesus, carrying out its charitable work in a complex and difficult context. Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and of the Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, concelebrated the Mass. Zenit – 24 Decembre 2010

Vatican: let peace begin in Jerusalem Cardinal Turkson Sends Note for Holy Land Prayer Day VATICAN CITY – The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is asking for peace on earth, and that it begin in Jerusalem. Cardinal Peter Turkson wrote this in his message for the Third International Day of Intercession for Peace in the Holy Land. Bishop Mario Toso, the dicastery's secretary, also signed the note, which was released today. The prayer initiative, which is organized by several Catholic youth associations, will take place Jan. 29-30. The annual event began in 2009, when faithful from some 500 cities around the world joined in a common prayer for peace. Last January, some 1,103 cities worldwide joined Benedict XVI, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the custos of the Holy Land, and Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, to participate in the prayer for peace. Organizers say that groups from more than 2,000 cities have already confirmed participation in this year's event. The prayer day is supported by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and responds in a special way to the call for prayer from the recent Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. "The Church has always made an effort to spread the message of peace," Cardinal Turkson said in his message. "Today, the very important topic of peace and the search for it are more timely than ever."

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He then quoted Benedict XVI's appeal at the close of the recent synod for the Middle East: "The cry of the poor and the oppressed finds an immediate echo in God, who wishes to intervene to open a way out, to restore a future of liberty, an horizon of hope." The Third International Day of Intercession for Peace in the Holy Land, Cardinal Turkson noted, "gathers different associations, brothers and sisters of every region, and solicits them to make their voice heard in the whole world saying: We want peace, reconciliation and unity, beginning in Jerusalem!" "We hope that this initiative, known already by many, will again be more appreciated and diffused, as the prayerful contribution of believers of the whole world in support of the Civilization of Love," he added. 24-hours The 24 hours of continuous prayer will begin in conjunction with the 5th Extraordinary Prayer of All Churches for Reconciliation, Unity and Peace Beginning in and Proceeding From Jerusalem, as well as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Jerusalem. Some of the organizing groups are: the National Papaboys Association, the Apostolate Youth For Life Association, the Perpetual Adoration Chapels Association in Italy and in the world, and the groups of Adunanza Eucaristica. Individuals, communities and groups are invited to join in the prayer for peace. Individuals can join the "We Want Peace in the Holy Land 2" Facebook group. Zenit – 15 December 2010

Aide: Mideast Synod marked by "Realism of Hope" Father Lombardi reflects on Fruits of Assembly ROME – The recent Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops was characterized by the "realism of hope," said a Vatican spokesman. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Director of the Vatican Press Office, said this in his most recent editorial for Octava Dies, the weekly news program of the Vatican Television Center. The priest reflected on what the Synod asked of the political leaders in the Middle East, and that the main concern was that "Christians be able to enjoy the rights of citizenship, of liberty of conscience and worship." He also added that Christians should also have "liberty in the field of teaching and education and in the use of the media." "They are original and authentic citizens," Father Lombardi underlined, "loyal to their homeland and faithful to all their national duties." The spokesman said the Synod also had a message for the international community regarding the Church's stance on violence and terrorism. "We condemn violence and terrorism, no matter of what origin or religious extremism," the priest said. "We condemn every form of racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Christianity and Islamophobia, and we call religions to assume their responsibility in the promotion of the dialogue of cultures and of civilizations in our region and in the whole world." Father Lombardi recalled that three special guests were invited to the assembly who represented Judaism and Islam (on Sunni and one Shiite). He said the speakers were "received with attention and availability and were applauded."

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"The members of the Synod expressed themselves with great liberty," he continued, "presenting the complex picture of the situation of their ecclesial communities with loyalty and serenity." "Indeed, it was an assembly with profound roots in a land run through with tensions and dramatic problems, but the ecclesial nature of this assembly, its religious, spiritual motivation made it capable of rising to a higher perspective, to a look animated by that realism of hope that is born form the faith lived in our history," the priest said. He added, "We hope that all will realize it and recognize it so that the Synod can give its fruits, first of all for the Church, but also for all the peoples of the Middle East." Zenit – 2 November 2010

Pope sends prayers to victims of Israeli forest fire Holy See meets with Israeli Commission; Takes up negotiations with Palestinians VATICAN CITY – Benedict XVI is assuring his prayers for the victims of the four-day forest fire that took the lives of more than 40 people in Israel last week. This was announced in a statement today from the Vatican regarding the Thursday plenary meeting of the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel. The Holy See welcomed that meeting, as well as talks held two days earlier with the Palestine Liberation Organization. Both of the meetings were co-chaired for the Holy See by Monsignor Ettore Balestrero, undersecretary for relations with states. The Israeli ministry of foreign affairs hosted the plenary meeting of the working commission, which "took place in a good and open atmosphere," the Vatican stated. Israel's delegation was headed by Danny Ayalon, deputy minister of foreign affairs. The Holy See's statement recounted: "At the start of the meeting, reference was made to the telegram sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. to Benyamin Netanyahu, prime minister of the State of Israel, conveying Pope Benedict XVI's assurances of his prayers and his solidarity with the families of those who lost their lives, to the wounded and to all who were affected by the recent forest fire in northern Israel, as well as 'his appreciation for the rescue efforts which were carried out with such selfless dedication,' and his prayers 'that those who have lost their homes in this tragedy may soon be able to rebuild their lives.'" The delegations at the working commission plenary assembly continued their conversations on the next steps toward conclusion of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement. Their next meeting will be June 16 at the Vatican. Special relations Regarding the Tuesday meeting with the PLO, a Vatican statement Thursday announced that talks had resumed between the Holy See and the Palestine Liberation Organization, at the headquarters of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah, following the Basic Agreement signed in 2000. 8


"The talks aimed at a comprehensive international agreement regulating and promoting the presence and activities of the Catholic Church in the Palestinian Territories, so strengthening the special relations between the Holy See and the PLO," the communiquÊ added. Ziad Al-Bandak, Abbas' advisor for Christian relations, co-chaired the meeting in representation of the PLO. The Vatican statement affirmed that the "talks were held in a cordial atmosphere," and that "both sides agreed on establishing a working group to elaborate the aforementioned comprehensive agreement." Zenit – 10 December 2010

Holy See: Palestinian-Israeli conflict needs a solution Archbishop Chullikatt tells UN that 60 Years is too long NEW YORK – A solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a vital part of finding solutions to the numerous problems that bring "chaos" to the entire Middle East, many of which have serious ramifications around the world, says the Holy See. Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, stated this Tuesday before the Special Political and Decolonization Committee on the U.N. and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. "The United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Pontifical Mission for Palestine," reiterated Archbishop Chullikatt, "have been working for over 60 years to assist the Palestine refugees by providing medical, educational and other social services, services which would normally be the responsibility of the local governing authority." "Nonetheless," the prelate added, "my delegation is confident that there exist men and women of good will who have the desire and dedication to promote the establishment of such a governing authority." History repeats itself The Archbishop reminded the assembly that "it is the view of the Holy See that many of the issues raised in the year's report of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA are in essence the symptoms of larger issues which have festered in the region for far too many years." "Each year at this meeting, we are presented with a seemingly endless list of difficulties and differences separating Israelis and Palestinians," he continued. The Permanent Observer hoped that the renewed peace process "can address the root causes of these symptoms and, once and for all, assist the Israelis and the Palestinians in establishing a secure state for the citizens of Israel and a secure State to be the homeland of the Palestine people." "Each population," he noted, "has been forced for over six decades to live under threat of explosive acts of terror or military incursions which result often in the death of innocent civilians, children, adolescents and the elderly." Archbishop Chullikatt urged the involved parties to address the negotiations, "the mutual communication and the respectful exchange of positions, in a responsible fashion without delay." 9


What next? The key to resolving so many of the situations that bring chaos to the region of the Middle East is deeply connected to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said. The prelate reiterated that after six decades of conflict, "the time is now to substitute this failure with determination that resorts to negotiation rather than violence" in order to "bring stability and peace to the Holy Land." In this regard, Archbishop Chullikatt urged the international community to "continue its efforts to facilitate with haste the rapprochement of the two parties." Jerusalem, a City for all The Holy See, he added, "further underlines that a lasting solution must include the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem." "In light of the numerous incidents of violence and challenges to free movement posed by the Security Wall," the Archbishop said the Holy See renews its support for "internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to the Holy Places by the faithful of all religions and nationalities." Zenit – 4 November 2010

Arab Institute brings hope, opportunity to Mideast Founded by Melkite Catholic Archbishop Elias Chacour NAZARETH – Israel's first fully accredited Arab-Christian college, the Nazareth Academic Institute, opened its doors Monday, offering a "new model" for higher education in Israel that offers both equal opportunity education and peace studies. Formerly located in Ibillin, near Haifa, the Nazareth Academic Institute (NAI) served as branch campus of the University of Indianapolis. Then, in March 2009, after years of working to adapt to the Israeli academic system, both the Council of Higher Education, as well as the Israeli government, recognized and accepted the school as an Israeli private college, the institute reported in a press statement. During his May 2009 visit to the Holy Land, Benedict XVI blessed the cornerstone of the new college after celebrating Mass for Arab Christians. As of Nov. 1, the curriculum for both the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Social Communications has been approved. Other departments that are being considered for approval by the Council of Higher education are computer science and occupational therapy; the latter is working in conjunction with the French Hospital in Nazareth. In the planning stages are programs for environmental studies, food and nutrition science, tourism and theology. Students in each field of study will be required to take a course in the Peace Studies and Leadership Program, focusing on such issues as "how to advance and secure the peaceful coexistence and cooperation in a multiethnic and multireligious region, such as the Middle East." "NAI believes peace is possible and that it can begin in the classroom," the institute wrote. "For that to happen, students must learn how to function in society, not just in the workplace, so NAI builds its education around a core curriculum in peace studies. 10


"Required of all students, this peace core encourages students to evaluate regional issues from multiple perspectives and conflicting cultural narratives. It also fosters the skills in critical thinking, negotiation and conflict resolution students need to identify solutions and build consensus in a diverse society." "Students discover not only why coexistence matters but how they can create it in their personal and professional lives," the statement added. Foundations The founder of NAI is Melkite Catholic Archbishop Elias Chacour of Akka, Haifa, Nazareth and All of Galilee. The three-time Nobel Peace prize nominee was born and raised in Baram, an Arab village just north of Galilee, near the Lebanon border. As a child, he and his family were exiled during the Israeli-Palestinian War. Years later, after being ordained in the Melkite (Greek-Catholic) Church, Father Elias established a kindergarten in his parish in Ibillin, for his predominantly Christian-Arab community. Later, he opened an elementary school, a secondary school and eventually, in 2003, he founded University College, with the help of the University of Indianapolis. The facilities Father Elias created became known collectively as the Mar Elias Educational Institutions (MEEI). Kurt Hengl, vice president of the International Board of Trustees of the NAI, and former Austrian Ambassador to Israel, recognizes the importance of Father Elias' work and the MEEI. "These institutions fulfill an important regional function, supporting Arab Israelis in reaching professional and academic levels and enabling them to integrate better into the Israeli society and economy." He also adds that the organization plays a vital role in helping Muslim Arab girls slowly free themselves from the "patriarchical structures" of the culture. The Nazareth Academic Institute has received great political support from a variety of groups. Israeli president and Nobel Prize winner, Shimon Peres, sees the "realization of the College in Nazareth as an important contribution to the peaceful coexistence of Jews and Arabs in Israel." Other supporters are the European Union, and the U.S. administration, as well as prominent Catholic Church leaders, including Cardinal Christoph SchÜnborn, the archbishop of Vienna. While Hengl is a great supporter of the NAI, he acknowledges the immense challenges the new university faces in terms of financing. "The fees for the students, mostly from families with modest income, do not cover the [operating] costs," he said. He also adds that the college does not receive funding from the government. "There will be the need for enormous efforts in order to realize and secure the visions of [Archbishop] Chacour of a Christian-inspired academic Institution for the youth of Galilee -Christians and Muslims, Jews and Druzes," said Hengl. "Any help, political and financial support, voluntary work and prayer, is welcome." Zenit – 2 November 2010

The school that saved Ramle The new wing of the city's Orthodox Christian school creates a space that both serves the community and cleans up the crime-ridden area. 11


Architects like to say that original architectural solutions are born of budgetary limitations and planning constraints. The new wing of the Christian Orthodox school in the old city of Ramle, which was dedicated a few weeks ago, proves the adage. The wing was built without any assistance from the authorities and is situated on a tiny plot - and nevertheless, it manages to create a commendable educational environment and be a positive influence on its surroundings. The old city of Ramle is one of the most neglected areas in central Israel. Depite holding a trove of important world heritage sites (such as the White Tower), the area suffers from crime and violence, is a haven for drug users and contains a number of cases of illegal construction. After the exodus of the Arab population in 1948, the city was almost completely abandoned and afterward settled by new immigrants and Arabs of Muslim descent. In the 1950s, many members of the Christian Orthodox Church managed to return to their homes; today the community numbers some 3,000 people. While the old city itself awaits an equitable and necessary development and preservation plan, the community took the initiative and set up independent educational and cultural institutions. About 19 years ago, they also opened a school. The new structure was built adjacent to the existing school and should alleviate some of their crowding issues. It is a completely private institution that receives no funding from the official institutions in Israel. The money to build it was collected via a door to door campaign by the community's leaders; each family contributed what it could, even if it was just a few shekels. "The main idea underlying the planning was making maximum use of the plot and surrounding area while taking into account the limited financial resources available to the community," explained architect Dan Israelovitz, who has been working on the project for eight years (together with the engineer Symon Amsis ). "The plot is extremely crowded and therefore we decided to change the standard perception of school construction. Instead of a spacious two-story structure, we stretched the school upward in order to create a joint plaza for the two buildings. We raised it on stilts in order not to eat away at more space from the yard and we turned the roof into a play and activity area." Crosses of light The urban density also dictated the architectural language of the building. Instead of using traditional local elements such as arches or domes, Israelovitz chose the language of broken boxy structures with slanted walls - made out of exposed concrete or covered with hewn stone. "Our objective was to avoid a building of huge and scary dimensions, especially given that most of the people using it are children," Israelovitz said. "We divided the building into a few vertical blocks with slits between them. This enables us to allow natural light and air into all of the internal spaces. In addition, we put in very large windows in all 18 classrooms and so for most of the day there is no need for electric lighting." He says the community leaders were not at first enthusiastic about the contemporary design of the building, but over time came around to its charms. At the top of the two main staircases, large crosses were installed in an effort to strengthen the ethno-religious nature of the Christian Orthodox community and to showcase its identity. The crosses are inset in the slanted concrete walls and "filled" with glass.

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This architectural detail was originally developed in 1989 by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando for the Church of the Light in Osaka, Japan. Since then, there have been a series of imitations installed across the world. During the daytime, the sun creates the shadow of a cross on the steps and at night they are illuminated. During a visit to the school around noon, it is evident that the teaching staff and the children are pleased with the new building. During the recess, the yard fills with hundreds of children, some of them sitting in cozier nooks that were created under the new building; others played soccer in the large plaza. The greater density creates a closer, community feeling and allows for encounters among students from all age ranges. The school building manages to serve the Christian Orthodox community throughout the day. After the children and the teachers end the school day, numerous community activities take place there as well as extra-curricular sports and there are plans to also offer computer classes there. In the evenings, the yard is used for social events, such as weddings and engagement parties - "to bring in a few more liras," members of the association explain. This is a fine example of the positive influence that a school can have on a community, a role that most schools in the Jewish community unfortunately do not manage to fill yet. In recent decades, huge educational complexes were built on the outskirts of cities and they remain deserted for most hours of the day. The organization's leaders say the school has had a very positive influence on the surroundings - be it in the decline of the crime rate or the creation of a new educational and cultural center that helps empower the community. In neglected and deprived urban areas such as the old city of Ramle, this is doubly important. In the past, the school housed one of Ramle's main drug dealing venues. Before the construction started, the drug site was sealed and razed by the authorities. The link between architecture and social change is a hot topic in architectural discourse all over the world, but in Israel it is discussed on a relatively smaller scale, mostly by a few organizations and nonprofit associations. The Museum of Modern Art in New York has even devoted a special exhibition to this subject, called "Small Scale, Big Change." Educational, cultural and residential projects in Africa and Asia as well as developed countries in Europe and the United States prove that architecture is a powerful force for social change. The school in Ramle is applying this principle on a daily basis. By Noam Dvir Haaretz– 18 November 2010

Israel's Religious Leaders to visit Pope in 2011 JERUSALEM – The religious leaders of Israel will travel to the Vatican next year to visit Benedict XVI. The news was announced Thursday at the end of the fourth annual meeting of the Council of Religious Community Leaders in Israel, held at the International Center Domus Galilaeae in Galilee, near the Mount of Beatitude. 13


The council, formed four years ago by Israel's Foreign MInistry, is comprised of the leaders of the religious communities of Israel, including the two chief rabbis of Israel, the leaders of the Christian churches, the Druse community, the Islamic Appeals Court, the Baha'i community, and the Ahmadiyya, Samaritans, Copts, Ethiopians and Assyrians. A statement from the Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel noted the significance of the "historic" visit to the Vatican, which it said "reflects the positive attitude of the Vatican and the Pope to the forum and the importance of dialogue to guide and manage the relations between different religious communities in Israel." The theme of the meeting of the council was "Freedom of Religion and Worship in Israel." Zenit – 29 November 2010

Christians in the Middle East essential for the survival of the Arab World For the Saudi journalist Mshari Al - Zaydi, fundamentalism and the economic crisis have overshadowed the importance of Christians to Muslims in the construction of their countries. Arab society is self-destructing and attacks against minorities are an excuse to vent the blame on someone for the failures of the Islamic world. "Pluralism is the best protection against ignorance and intolerance." London – "Christians are an essential part of the Middle East. Jesus himself was born in Palestine and was baptized on the banks of the Jordan. The Arab nations should co-exist with them and defend them. " This, the assertion of Mshari Al - Zaydi, Saudi journalist and expert on Islam in Asharq Al-Awsat Arabic newspaper based in London. In an article entitled "Our citizens Arab Christians" published today, Mshari examines the plight of Christians in the Middle East, starting with the recent attack against the church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad. He writes, “The bloody assault on Baghdad's Church of Our Lady of Salvation has opened the door to a bigger question about the fate of Christian citizens in Middle Eastern countries, and the future of their presence there. Furthermore, it has exposed an Arab and Islamic wound, and we must get to the source of this crisis”. Mashari stresses that recent events in Iraq is just the latest chapter in a campaign of murder that has as its goal to drive all Iraqi Christians from Mosul to Baghdad. "What is happening in Iraq – he continues - cannot be exclusively attributed to the deterioration of the security situation and the stagnation of the political condition. We cannot say that the attacks on Iraq's Christians is a direct result of American incitement in the region, or part of some secret plan to drive a wedge between the people Iraq. " The journalist mentions, in addition to the episodes in Iraq, attacks and other situations of intolerance against Christians and other minorities in Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and other Muslim-majority countries. Citing the Lebanese intellectual Radwan al-Sayyid, Mshari points out that the situation experienced by Christians does not depend only on the growth of Islamic extremism and its rhetoric against the West. He points out that the economic crisis contributes to the exodus of Christians and is often the real excuse for the attacks against minorities. "We suffer from a self-consuming syndrome in our Arab societies - he says -, and a desire to search for a scapegoat to blame for our general failure and decline. The minorities have always represented this scapegoat to the radicals and extremisms; with these minorities becoming the object of condemnation, taking the blame for polluting our nations. The idea that there is a pure 14


untainted national identity with its own unique characteristics is a form of intellectual naivety. However the most dangerous thing about this is that it is an idea that resonates with the instincts of the general public who are looking for a demon to blame for society's ills". Mshari stresses that Christians have taken part alongside the Muslims in the construction of the various Arab nations. "The ideas of those years - he says - served – and continue to serve – as categories for political identity, which have included many Arab intellectuals under non-religious and non-sectarian banners". For the journalist the nature of the Arab world must be reconsidered starting from those ideas, which previously succeeded in removing the influence of religious extremism, taking the best from various faiths. "If the Christian presence is removed completely from the Arab world – he concludes - this region will be characterized solely by Muslims and lose its Arab identity." "Pluralism - Mshari insists - is the best protection against ignorance and intolerance." AsiaNews – 13 November 2010

Religious Community Leaders discuss freedom of religion Clerics also hold interfaith prayer session for rain. Israel’s religious leaders met on Thursday in lower Galilee to discuss freedom of religion and worship in the Holy Land, as well as to offer a joint prayer for rain. The Council of Religious Community Leaders in Israel, whose fourth annual convention took place at the Domus Galilaeae International Center near the Mount of Beatitude, is comprised of the heads of the various religious communities in Israel, including both chief rabbis, heads of churches, the head of the Druse community, the head of the Islamic Appeals Court and heads of other communities such as the Baha’i, Ahmadiyya, Lutherans, Anglicans, Samaritans, Copts, Ethiopians and Assyrians. Bahij Mansour, director of Inter-religious Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attended the event and said that beyond freedom of worship, the council’s Thursday session also dwelt on the role of religious leaders during crises. The body was formed some four years ago at the initiative of the Foreign Ministry and the Interior Ministry to provide a forum for cooperation and dialogue among the different creeds. Besides holding workshops to that end, since its inception the council has been involved in numerous counts of lowering tensions between religious groups, such as those that arose between Muslims and Jews in Acre, Christians and Druse in Shfaram, and Druse and Jews in Peki’in, Mansour noted. And – as one would expect from a congregation of men of faith a short distance from the alarmingly expanding shores of the Kinneret – the religious leaders held, prior to the Thursday meeting, separate and then joint prayers for an end to the drought. Mansour noted the council’s growing recognition from organizations and bodies around the world, and an invitation to its members by Pope Benedict XVI to a meeting at the Vatican in January, which constitutes the Holy See’s official recognition of the forum and its importance in conducting dialogue and relations among the various religions in Israel. By Jonah Mandel The Jerusalem Post – 28 November 2010

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Bishops in the Holy Land call for three Days of Prayer for Iraq Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land issue statement, announcing prayer for Iraq. They call on Arab League, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, United Nations and the Security Council to be cognizant of what is going on before it is too late. Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – “Words of distress, condemnation and incrimination are no longer enough in the face of the horror that is taking place repeatedly in Iraq, especially with regard to Christians over the past years and which reached a pinnacle of savage insanity with the massacre on Sunday” in Baghdad, the bishops of the Holy Land said in a statement released yesterday in Jerusalem. We “incline ourselves before the bodies of these heroic martyrs, the sufferings of the innocent wounded, the pain of the relatives of the victims and the injured,” the statement said. “The Church of the Holy Land, reaching out to her sister in Iraq, appeals to the conscience of each and every one in authority there, starting with the Iraqi government, to be vigilant in protecting all her citizens, especially those who have no protection, those who have no weapons and no militias, their only guilt being that they maintain their faith, in the land of their fathers and grandfathers.” “This land is their land since time immemorial; they have sacrificed in its service, contributed to its flourishing, and defended it with everything they have. The time has come for those who are responsible to own up to their responsibility, to stand up to those who have lost any sense of humanity, curbing their insatiable thirst for blood and reckoning with and punishing anyone who plans or carries out such criminal acts.” The region’s Catholic ordinaries also call on the Arab League, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the United Nations and the Security Council, “before it is too late”, to be cognizant of “the danger of those who seek to exploit religions for the purpose of a clash of civilizations”. In order to express their closeness to the victims, the bishops announced three days of solidarity with the suffering Church of Iraq, days of prayer for the souls of Iraqi martyrs, today, tomorrow and Sunday, in every parish church, monastery and convent of the Holy Land. “Our mission, as it was also expressed in the Synod for the Middle East two weeks ago, is that we live Communion and Witness, that we work together, Christians and Muslims, in the building up and awakening of our countries and our peoples, investing effort together in the establishment of peace and stability, on the basis of mutual trust”. AsiaNews – 5 November 2010

Jesuit honored for saving 3 Jewish children Pair of Brothers, Cousin Hid Among Catholic School Students Graziano Sonnino and Marco Pavoncello remember Jesuit Father Raffaele de Ghantuz Cubbe for his courage and goodness. It was that courage and goodness that saved their lives, along with the life of Sonnino's brother Mario.

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The Sonninos and Pavoncello, as young Italian Jews, were saved from the Holocaust when Father Cubbe hid the children at his Jesuit school. Their surname was changed to Sbardella, a southern name of the region of Cassino, which had been bombed by the Allies, meaning their identity was impossible to verify. Father Cubbe (1904-1983) was recognized Tuesday in Rome with the honor of Righteous Among the Nations, the title bestowed by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. Mordechay Lewy, Israel's ambassador to the Holy See, presented the honor to Father Cubbe's nephew, Francesco de Ghantuz Cubbe. Pavoncello and Graziano Sonnino took part in Tuesday morning's ceremony; Mario Sonnino died last July, as did his sister Virginia. Their children and grandchildren were present, as were their nieces and nephews. Doing their duty After the War, the brothers and cousin had gone on to finish their education at Father Cubbe's Jesuit school. Only two or three people knew of their true identity during the occupation; they revealed it to their friends after the liberation. It was Celeste Pavoncello, Marco's daughter, who in 2004 initiated the process to have Father Cubbe recognized as a member of the Righteous Among the Nations. This came after she discovered a photograph of her father in a document of Berlin private archives at an exhibition at the Victor Emmanuel monument of Rome on the antiJewish laws and the Shoa. When Celeste Pavoncello announced this year to Giovanna de Ghantuz Cubbe that her uncle was going to receive the medal of the Righteous Among the Nations, she discovered a story that was little known. The "saviors" thought they had done nothing other than their duty, Giovanna de Ghantuz Cubbe said, or they believed that their "right hand should not know what the left hand was doing." Traces of heroes The award was given by Lewy in the presence of the president of the Jewish community of Rome, Riccardo Pacifici. Pacifici recalled that his father and his uncle were also saved thanks to Catholic priests. He also pointed out that the Yad Vashem Memorial has recognized some 28,000 "Righteous," 487 in Italy. The community president spoke of a veritable "hunt for the righteous" to find traces of these "heroes" and honor their memory. He also suggested the creation of an Association of "Children of the Righteous." Rooted in holiness Raffaele de Ghantuz Cubbe was born in Orciano Pisano, Italy, in 1904. He died in Rome in 1983. He was the fourth child of a profoundly Christian family. His father, the marquis Riccardo, was secret chamberlain of Popes Benedict XV to Pius XII. The family was friendly with Salesian Father Michele Rua (now a blessed), who had a premonition of Raffaele's religious vocation. In fact, Raffaele entered the Society of Jesus when he was very young. He was rector of the prestigious School of Mondragon, near Frascati, south of Rome, from 1942-1947. It was there that Pavoncello and the Sonninos were hidden. Father Cubbe also served as vice-president of Pius XII's association to support victims of World War II. Zenit – 15 Decembre 2010 17


Man recalls how Pius XII hid Jews in the Vatican Says Nazis planned to annihilate Catholics next NEW YORK – A Jewish man is giving testimony to how his father was saved from the Nazis by being hidden in the Vatican by Pope Pius XII. This testimony is the latest collected by Pave the Way Foundation, which has been compiling documents and reports regarding the actions of Pius XII during World War II. Gary Krupp, the foundation's President, announced the latest testimony by Robert Adler, a member of the Alabama Holocaust Commission. Adler recalled how his father, Hugo Adler, was taken into the Vatican in 1941 and was hidden for five weeks. During that time, he met personally with Pope Pius XII on several occasions. Hugo was then sent through a Vatican network through France, into Spain, and then to Sosua, Dominican Republic. Robert said in his testimony that he found through research that the Nazis planned to first annihilate the Jews and then the Catholics. He noted that, due to this fact, the Pontiff conducted the rescue efforts in secret. He concluded that his father would have died if Pius XII had not intervened. Krupp expressed gratitude for Adler's testimony, affirming that "his coming forward with this most revealing recollection, has paid back an enormous debt owed to all of those who risked their lives by reaching out to save the victims to the Shoah." The foundation has posted some 40,000 documents along with video testimonies on its Web site to provide evidence about the role of Pius XII in World War II. Elliot Hershberg, Chairman of the foundation's board, noted: "This effort has been a hugely expensive and arduous undertaking for [Pave the Way Foundation] but it has been well worth it. "In accordance with our mission, if we can help to illuminate this controversial period, which has been a source of discord between Jews and Catholic for over 46 years, we will have helped to change the course of history and improve relations at a time this is so necessary." Zenit – 2 November 2010

Bureaucracy causes chaos at West Bank checkpoints Confusion reigns as several agencies share responsibility for security arrangements. Though a Defense Ministry unit was set up five years ago to oversee checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank, these checkpoints are still run by no fewer than six different agencies, and no single body coordinates their work, Haaretz has found. 18


The agencies running the checkpoints include the Israel Defense Forces, the Defense Ministry's Crossing Administration, the Border Police and the regular police. In addition, staff work is carried out by the Counterterrorism Bureau, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the Crossing Administration and the IDF Central Command. Haaretz found that none of these organizations were certain who has overall responsibility for these checkpoints. Unlike checkpoints within the West Bank, which are all operated by the military or the Border Police, checkpoints on the Green Line, which separates Israel from the West Bank, deal exclusively with Palestinians seeking to enter Israel. They are positioned at every crossing from the West Bank into Israel. The Green Line checkpoints are under the purview of the defense minister: He, together with his staff, is the one determines their location, size and operating procedures, the number of people allowed through, and so on. In addition to the minister, three other organizations have responsibilities in this area, but are not connected to each other. The first is COGAT, headed by Brig. Gen. Eitan Dangot, who answers directly to the minister. COGAT's main component is the Civil Administration, which answers both to Dangot and to the GOC Central Command. The second is the Crossing Administration, which is mainly an operational body, but can occasionally influence policy. The third is the Defense Ministry's political-security department, which deals with issues affected by the checkpoints, such as the West Bank economy. And alongside these agencies, which fall under the Defense Ministry, is the Counterterrorism Bureau, which is part of the Prime Minister's Office. In 2003, the state comptroller published a report urging the development of an overall strategy for checkpoint administration. But only in 2005, when the comptroller began working on a follow-up report, did the cabinet finally decide to set up the Crossing Administration. It also decided to replace the soldiers at these checkpoints with private security companies answerable to the Defense Ministry. The administration was formally established in July 2005, just a month before the comptroller released his follow-up report. This report attributed the delay in dealing with the problem to disagreements among the relevant ministries. Adding to the confusion is the fact that two different bodies are responsible for each checkpoint: One is in charge of operating it, while the other is responsible for security. At the Tarqumiya checkpoint, for example, the body responsible for security is the Defense Ministry, but the actual operator is a private security contractor. In Shuafat, the organization in charge of security is the Jerusalem police, but the operator is the Border Police. A large number of new checkpoints were set up around the outskirts of Jerusalem following the cabinet's decision to build the separation fence. All of these fall under the purview of the Jerusalem police, which set up a special administration to deal with them. A visit to the checkpoints around Jerusalem revealed that each organization involved sends representatives to every checkpoint. Thus military policemen stand alongside civilian security guards, Border Police officers, representatives of the special police administration and COGAT staff. A checkpoint known as the Rachel Terminal is operated by the regular police, while the nearby Wallaja checkpoint, which is closed to Palestinians, is run by the Border Police. By Chaim Levinson Haaretz – 12 November 2010

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New road leading to St George Monastery The ancient St. George monastery, carved into the rocks of the Judean desert is again accessible to tourists Earlier today, 30.11.10, the new access road that facilitates easy and convenient access to the site was inaugurated in a festive ceremony in the presence of tourism ministry directorgeneral, the archbishop of the Greek Orthodox church, the head of the department of public works and the deputy head of the civil administration In a festive ceremony overlooking the Judean Desert (Wadi Kelt), a new access road was inaugurated, facilitating easy and convenient access to the Monastery of St. George,. The NIS 2 million infrastructure work, which included a drainage system and safety rails, was jointly funded by the Tourism Ministry, the Department of Public Works and the Civil Administration, in answer to requests by Christian communities around the world to improve pilgrim and tourist access to the site. For the last three years, access was extremely difficult due to water erosion from flash floods and damage caused by a small earthquake. The monastery, built in the Byzantine period at the end of the fifth century, is one of the oldest monasteries in the country, with spectacular rock drawings from the fifth and sixth centuries, and one of six working monasteries in the Holy Land. Participating in today’s festive ceremony were the Archbishop Aristarchos, one of the heads of the Greek Orthodox Church in Israel, the Director-General of the Tourism Ministry Noaz Bar-Nir, the Deputy Head of the Civil Administration Colonel Raed Mantzur and CEO, Department of Public Works Alex Viznitcher. Director-General of the Tourism Ministry Noaz Bar-Nir: “The Tourism Ministry is working to make tourist sites in Israel accessible and thereby expand the variety of the tourism product both for Israeli visitors and for tourists and pilgrims. The stunning monastery combines ancient history, spectacular landscape, religion and welcoming monks that make this a must-see site.” The Jerusalem Post – 30 November 2010

Nazareth: Patrimony of Humanity? Muslim Stresses Mary as Model for Islam, Christianity NAZARETH – An international colloquium dedicated to Nazareth could be the first step toward officially declaring the city as patrimony of humanity, says the mayor of that locale. Ramiz Jaraisy, that city's mayor, said this after the Nov. 21-24 colloquium on "Nazareth: Archeology, History, and Cultural Patrimony," reported the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The initiative was organized by the Mary of Nazareth Association, the International Mary of Nazareth Center and the Nazareth Cultural and Tourism Association, with the support of the Israeli Commission for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and 20


Cultural Organization), the French Cultural Center of Nazareth and the Italian Cultural Center of Haifa. Among the authorities attending this research session were the ambassador of France to Israel, Christophe Bigot, and the patriarchal vicar for Israel, Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo. In statements to ZENIT, Omar Massalah, Muslim secretary of the Mediterranean Peace Forum and author of the proposal that UNESCO declare Nazareth patrimony of humanity, explained that this "would be the best way to protect the city, to avoid transformation and modernization putting an end to Nazareth's soul." "Nazareth is a unique city," he affirmed. "It's necessary that Nazareth should become again a city that illumines the world." Massalah said, "The preparation of the dossier for UNESCO of Nazareth's candidature is a technical aspect being carried out in collaboration with the municipality of the city and the national Israeli commission concerned." He expressed his intention to speak with the Arab countries "to support the petition, as it is not an initiative with a political connotation, but a cultural issue." Massalah explained, "For the Mediterranean Peace Forum, with headquarters in Paris, which has organized its first session in Lecce, Italy, and is planning another in Brindisi, the objective is to promote a culture of peace and dialogue, particularly among believers, and more concretely, between Catholics and Muslims, as both have many values in common." He noted that the Virgin Mary, "who is venerated by Muslims, could play a role of rapprochement." "The Qur'an says that the Virgin Mary is the woman with the most virtues," Massalah said. "Muslims have great respect and veneration for her. I believe the Virgin is hope, peace, love and tenderness. It is necessary that she give out the values she represents." "With our forum, instead of putting the accent on elements that separate us we stress the elements that unite us," he added. Buried treasure In the opening address of the colloquium, Bishop Marcuzzo said that the richness and variety of the biblical, spiritual, cultural and historical dimensions of the city have only been explored by a very reduced number of its inhabitants, researchers and pilgrims. He added that Nazareth, with its prehistoric archeology and its modern European constructions, the first Judeo-Christian church and the crusades up to the Ottoman period, also represents for the Church a source and origin, as the place of the Incarnation. Though Nazareth is known by the whole world and has great symbolic content, its immense patrimony continues to be a buried treasure. The prelate reflected the enthusiasm of all the participants given Nazareth's richness, of which he said people must become aware. More than 20 participants -- Christians, Jews and Muslims -- gave interventions at the colloquium. Among them was Franciscan Father Eugenio Alliata, archeologist of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem; Pierre Perrier, specialist in Eastern oral traditions in the Gospel; and Renzo Ravagnan, professor of the Veneto Institute for Cultural Goods, which has restored many places of Nazareth, including the Grotto of the Annunciation. The experts presented the spatial and historical dimensions of Nazareth. They also addressed the present state and future plan of the archeological excavations, a plan for 21


tourism, historical and artistic studies on the present basilica and the old church, the unknown pages of the 20th century history, the still mysterious origin of the name Nazareth and its numerous derivatives. The meeting also included a visit guided by Sharif Safadi to some of the local treasures, among them the 1st century Tomb of the Righteous, the facades and interiors of the great traditional Ottoman mansions, and Mary's Fountain (emblem of the city). The tour ended in a house, discovered last year near the International Mary of Nazareth Center, which dated back to Jesus' time. On behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the director of the excavations, Yardenna Alexandre, said that the house can be dated without a doubt to the 1st century. Eternal message The Mary of Nazareth French association, which promoted the colloquium, gave an evaluation of the present state of historical and archeological knowledge on Nazareth, now that the building of the International Mary of Nazareth Center is finishing. It is scheduled to be opened on March 25. The purpose of this center, built near the basilica of the Annunciation, is to help others discover and love Nazareth, as well as its rich eternal message, above all regarding Mary of Nazareth, in the very place of the Annunciation and the Incarnation. The center's management, reception and biblical and spiritual formation will be entrusted to the Chemin Neuf Community. Deacon Marc Hodara of this community, coordinator of this project for years, recalled with gratitude the support received from the Churches of the Holy Land and the help of the important families of Nazareth. He also expressed gratitude toward Bishop Marcuzzo, who has supported the project from the beginning with great constancy and openness. Chemin Neuf Community, whose charism is to work for unity and reconciliation, highlighted the spirit of concord and good will of all the participants in the colloquium. The mayor of Nazareth closed the colloquium by expressing the hope that a book will be published of all the addresses given. He also announced the municipal plan to give a $10,000 annual grant to a researcher who will write a doctorate on Nazareth. The colloquium's organizers stressed the success of the meeting and expressed the hope to have another session next year. Bishop Marcuzzo said that "we began with the desire for a unitary knowledge on Nazareth and we have discovered the unity of Nazareth." With the contribution of Jesús Colina Zenit – 6 December 2010

1,800-year-old Bathing Pool uncovered in Jewish Quarter Find sheds light on Aelia Capitolina, the Roman city founded on Second Temple ruins. A Roman bathing pool built 1,800 years ago was recently discovered in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem during archaeological excavations ahead of the construction of a mikve (ritual bath), the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced in a press release on Monday. 22


The authority, which conducted the excavations under the initiative of the Jerusalem municipality and the Moriah Company for the Development of Jerusalem, said that the pool was part of a bathhouse used by the 10th Legion – the same battalion of Roman soldiers that destroyed the Second Temple. The discovery sheds light on the scope of Aelia Capitolina, the city founded on the ruins of the Second Temple that defined the character of ancient Jerusalem. “We were surprised to discover an ancient bathhouse structure right below the spot where a mikve is to be built,” said Dr. Ofer Sion, Excavation Director on behalf of the IAA. “The bathhouse tiles – which are stamped with the symbols of the Fretensis 10th Legion, “LEG X FR” – were found in situ and it seems that they were used to cover a rockhewn water channel located at the bottom of the pool. The hundreds of terra cotta roof tiles that were found on the floors of the pool indicate it was a covered structure,” he noted. “It seems that the bathhouse was used by [soldiers of the 10th Legion] who were garrisoned there after suppressing the Bar Kochba uprising in 135 CE, when the pagan city Aelia Capitolina was established,” Sion continued. “We know that the 10th Legion’s camp was situated within the limits of what is today the Old City, probably in the region of the Armenian Quarter. This assumption is reinforced by the discovery of the bathhouse in the nearby Jewish Quarter which shows that the multitude of soldiers was spread out and that they were also active outside the camp, in other parts of the Old City.” An unusual imprint on one of the roof tiles caught the attention of the archaeologists. “Another interesting discovery that caused excitement during the excavation is the paw print of a dog that probably belonged to one of the soldiers,” Sion said. “The paw print was impressed on the symbol of the legion on one of the roof tiles and it could have happened accidentally or have been intended as a joke.” Dr. Yuval Baruch, the Jerusalem District archaeologist for the IAA, noted the importance of the discovery, which will aid significantly in the study of post-destruction Jerusalem. “Despite the very extensive archaeological excavations that were carried out in the Jewish Quarter, so far not even one building has been discovered there that belonged to the Roman legion,” he said. “The absence of such a find led to the conclusion that Aelia Capitolina, the Roman city which was established after the destruction of Jerusalem, was small and limited in area.” “The new find, together with other discoveries of recent years, shows that the city was considerably larger than what we previously estimated. Information about Aelia Capitolina is extremely valuable and can contribute greatly to research on Jerusalem because it was that city that determined the character and general appearance of ancient Jerusalem and [the city], as we know it today. The shape of the city has determined the outline of its walls and the location of the gates to this very day,” Baruch added. The IAA will integrate the remains of the ancient bathhouse into the plans for the new mikve. By Jonah Mandel The Jerusalem Post – 23 November 200

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Government committee to set aside another NIS 50 million for national heritage projects The panel is expected to approve the preservation, restoration and expansion of 12 important historical and architectural sites. The ministerial committee on national heritage sites is slated to approve funding for another 16 heritage sites and projects today, on top of the batch approved in February. The panel is expected to approve the preservation, restoration and expansion of 12 important historical and architectural sites. In addition, it will approve funding for setting up an Israeli music archive, developing an ornithology center at Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael, creating an Internet portal for all national archives, and developing municipal documentation projects in four cities. The Prime Minister's Office will allocate a combined NIS 52 million to these projects, and the organizations managing them will be asked to raise another NIS 44 million on their own. A key focus of this round of allocations will be renovating poorly maintained archaeological sites related to ancient Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel. For instance, NIS 16.5 million will go to setting up a visitors center at Tel Lachish, one of the largest and most important tells from the Biblical era. Another NIS 16 million will go to Herodion, in part to preserve and reconstruct King Herod's recently discovered tomb. The goal is to turn the site into an international tourist attraction. Money will also go to Gamla and Um al-Kantir (Rehoboam's Arches ) in the Golan Heights, as well as to Tel Arad. Another focus will be renovating and preserving sites from the early days of Zionist settlement in Israel, like Independence House in Tel Aviv (NIS 5 million ) and the Jordan Valley train station (NIS 4.5 million ). The latter will be turned into a center for Land of Israel studies affiliated with the Jordan Valley College. The Adas synagogue in Jerusalem's Nahlaot neighborhood, and especially its monumental mural by artists from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, is another site on the list. Money will also go to set up a new exhibit in the Holocaust museum at Kibbutz Lohamei Hageta'ot. The Internet portal will receive a budget of NIS 15 million. This project will involve setting up infrastructure for digitizing material from various national archives and making it accessible to the public online. Currently, most of this material can only be viewed by physically going to the archives. The new music archive will get NIS 5 million, which will go toward collecting and documenting material. The ornithology center will track the more than 500 million birds that migrate through Israel twice a year. The cabinet approved the national heritage project in February, at which time it also approved a NIS 400 million budget for the program over the next six years. In addition, it allocated funding to 11 specific sites - three in Jerusalem and eight on various kibbutzim. According to Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser, the projects were chosen according to two main criteria: "places or issues that are in immediate danger of being lost, and rare or unique assets that need budgetary assistance." Hauser rejected criticism that none of the budgeted projects deal with either Palestinian or ultra-Orthodox heritage in Israel. "The explicit goal here is to give expression to Zionist history and the Zionist narrative," he told Haaretz, noting that the committee planned to approve funding for additional projects next year. 24


However, he added, many sites not on the committee's list receive funding from other bodies, like the preservation council and the Antiquities Authority. By Noam Dvir Haaretz – 21 December 2010

Bethlehem tourism swells as violence and terror ebbs Town’s 2,750 hotel rooms are booked solid for Christmas week and expected turnout for Christmas week up strongly from 70,000 last year. Bethlehem has seen a record number of tourists this year and its thousands of hotel rooms are fully booked for Christmas week, thanks to steadily declining violence in the West Bank over the past few years. It is a welcome bit of good news in a period that is otherwise gloomy, with a US-led Israeli-Palestinian peace effort appearing to have run aground. So far this year, 1.4 million tourists have visited the traditional birthplace of Jesus and 90,000 are expected during the Christmas season, a significant increase over last year, according to Israeli government figures. The numbers of visitors have been rising steadily in recent years. "We believe that the economic situation in comparison to previous years is more stable and is improving," said Samir Hazboun of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce. The town’s 2,750 hotel rooms are booked solid for Christmas week and four more hotels are under construction. The expected turnout for Christmas week is up strongly from about 70,000 last year. Tourism is one of the few areas of strong Israeli-Palestinian coordination. Israel’s military said it has been in contact with the patriarchs and religious leaders of the various Christian sects to coordinate motorcades into Bethlehem for the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass. Tens of thousands of foreign tourists are expected in Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity for Christmas Eve celebrations. The travel can be a chore: They must cross through a gate in the 30-foot (8-meter) wall built by Israel to keep Palestinian attackers out of Jerusalem, just 3 miles (5 kilometers) away. The Bethlehem they find may be different from what many expect: for one thing, Christians have lost their majority: More than two-thirds of the 50,000 Palestinian residents are Muslim. Still, the town does its best to take advantage of its place in Christian history, going so far as to link the Christmas nativity story to the fact that it houses the West Bank’s best maternity facility. The placement of a maternity hospital in Bethlehem is no accident, said Jacques Keutgen, director of the Holy Family Hospital, situated just half a mile from the Church of the Nativity which marks the traditional birthplace of Jesus. "This is the birthplace of Jesus Christ, so it is very important that people here have the possibility to deliver safely and in peace," he said. By Associated Press The Jerusalem Post – 15 December 2010

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New CBS Report: Muslims over a Third of J'lem Population Muslims were biggest minority in Israel at end of 2009; birth-rate stood at 3.7 children per woman, higher than in Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. At the end of 2009, the Muslim population in Israel was estimated to be 1,286,000 people, an increase of 32,000 people from the end of 2008, according to new figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Monday. Among Israel's Muslims, 264,000 thousand (20.5 percent) live in Jerusalem, constituting over a third (34.2%) of all of the capital's residents, and making it the largest community of Muslims living in Israel. The second largest Muslim community in Israel was Rahat, with 51,600 Muslim residents, followed by Nazareth with 49,600, and Umm el-Fahm with 46,000. By the end of 2009, the fertility rate (defined as the average number of children a woman will have in her lifetime) among Israeli Muslims population stood at 3.7 children per woman, a decline from 4.7 children per woman in 2000, but still the highest overall communal birth-rate in Israel. The percentage also makes the birth rate among Israeli Muslims higher than those among Muslims in Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. The figures also show that the workforce participation among Muslims ages 15 and over in Israel in 2009 was 39.8%, 61% among men and 18% among women. In terms of religiosity, 9% of Muslims define themselves as very religious, 51% as religious, 29% as not so religious, and 10% as not religious. Regarding education, Muslim students in Israeli universities now account for 6.5% of all students in universities, compared to 3.1% in 1989. The figures show that Muslim university students in comparison to their Jewish counterparts are more likely to pursue studies in the medical fields and less likely to study engineering and architecture. By Michal Toiba The Jerusalem Post – 15 November 2010

Kinneret drops to all-time low - in popularity, too Israeli Arabs and Jews split over its appeal, survey finds. Lake Kinneret's public image has hit rock bottom. The majority of the Jewish-Israeli population does not see it as a tourist destination, a survey has found. The survey, held in July among 500 Jews and 200 Arabs who vacation in Israel at least once a year, found that only 40 percent of Israeli Jews see the lake as a tourist destination, compared to 80 percent of the Arabs. "The government renounced responsibility for the Kinneret, and the local authorities are incapable of looking after it," said Yossi Vardi, chairman of the Kinneret Regional Association of Towns.

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Moreover, 22 percent of those who have not visited the lake or don't intend to visit it say nothing can induce them to do so, according to the survey, which was conducted by Rotem TRI Strategic Market Research for the tourism team, one of 15 teams working on the Kinneret shores' master plan for the Interior Ministry. The Kinneret Law enacted some three years ago put responsibility for looking after the lake's beaches on a new organization - the Kinneret Regional Association of Towns. "This was after years in which the government shifted responsibility for the Kinneret to the local authorities, which could not handle it," said Giora Shaham, an adviser for the association. The Interior Ministry is due shortly to publish 14 detailed plans for each of the Kinneret's beaches, Shaham said. Contractors who win the public tenders issued for some of the beaches will invest in developing and managing the beaches for 10-15 years and then hand them over to the state. The association will supervise those beaches. Other beaches will be developed by the government with a NIS 180 million investment and then be operated by franchise owners. In about five years, the development work and facilities on the beaches surrounding the Kinneret are expected to be completed. Each beach will have its own character - a surfers' beach, a pilgrims' beach, a family resort beach etc, said Shaham. However, the association will also have to overcome the Kinneret's poor public image, as reflected in the survey. A quarter of the people who don't visit the lake and said there is no chance they will do so, told the pollsters they "don't like the place." Another quarter said they "don't like the people there" or that "it's unclean and untidy" and "there's nothing to do there." Some of the reasons for people's dislike of the Kinneret were dirt (27 percent ), "no water" in the lake (12 percent ) and crowded beaches and vulgar people (22 percent ). Only 11 percent - 58 percent of them Arabs and 7 percent Jews - said they "love everything about the Kinneret." Only 7 percent of the Jews plan to go to the Kinneret for a holiday or have been there in the past, compared to 52 percent of the Arabs. The Jews prefer Eilat and Upper Galilee (29 percent each ). Eilat is also the Arabs' preferred tourist destination (29 percent ). However, 19 percent said low prices could induce them to come to the Kinneret and 13 percent said cleaner beaches with better facilities could do the trick. The survey also found that half of the Jews who visit the Kinneret don't stay the night, while two-thirds of the Arabs stay two or more nights at the site. The association people believe the lake's image could be changed following the beaches' improvement. They are pinning their hopes on "recently disappointed" visitors to the Kinneret. Half of those who now refrain from visiting the lake said they had been there in the past three years. These people could be the target of a public relations campaign to bring people back to the Kinneret, said Yael Sela, spokeswoman for the association. Some of these people said in the survey they might return if they heard of an attractive price offer and improved conditions, Sela said. By Eli Ashkenazi Haaretz – 10 December 2010 27


’Jews now a minority between the River and the Sea’ Hebrew U. professor says Palestinians, foreign workers, migrants, non-halachically Jewish olim outnumber Jews. Jews no longer constitute a majority in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, according to an expert on Jewish demographics. Prof. Sergio DellaPergola of the Hebrew University told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that Jews – as defined by the government – now number less than half of the total population in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. “If people ask when Jews will lose their majority, then it’s already happened,” DellaPergola said. “If one combines the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, includes foreign workers and refugees, whose numbers have grown rapidly in recent years, and omits Israelis who made aliya under the Law of Return but are not recognized as Jews by the Interior Ministry, then Jews are slightly less than 50% of the population.” The finding is potentially significant in the context of efforts to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians. Former prime minister Ariel Sharon made a late-life political turnaround, unilaterally dismantling the entire Gaza Strip settlement enterprise and tending toward separation from the Palestinians in parts of the West Bank, out of a concern that, in the absence of separation, demographics could leave the Jews as a minority between the river and the sea, with implications for the Jewish nation’s sovereign capacity to determine its future. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who last year conditionally backed Palestinian statehood, has also often cited concerns about Israel maintaining a strong Jewish majority. The 2008 Palestinian census found 3.76 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, up 30% from 2.89 million a decade earlier. Within Israel, according to Central Bureau of Statistics figures issued last year, there were 5,569,200 Jews – 75.5 percent of the population. While DellaPergola says that Jews are already a minority between the River and the Sea, some critics charge that figures for the number of Palestinians living in the West Bank are exaggerated by hundreds of thousands due to double counting of the population of east Jerusalem, who appear in both the Israeli and the Palestinian census, and by including people living abroad who possess local identification cards. On Tuesday, DellaPergola released a report conducted on behalf of the North American Jewish Data Bank in collaboration with the Jewish Federations of North America. He estimated the number of Jews around the world at 13,428,300. More than 80% of Jews live in two countries: Israel and the US. The Jewish state has an estimated 5,703,700 of them, whereas about 5,275,000 are in America. DellaPergola said he had used a social categorization to estimate the number of Jews. “I didn’t go by the Halacha,” he explained. “Instead, I used a social definition to determine the core population: Someone who identifies as Jewish and those with Jewish parents who have no other religion.” Using a broader, ethnic definition, DellaPergola believes there may be as many as 14 million people with Jewish ancestry outside of Israel who could make aliya under the Law of Return. By Gil Shefler The Jerusalem Post – 26 November 2010

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On eve of 2011, 75,4 % of Israelis are Jews 75.4 percent of Israeli are Jews, 20.4% are Arab; 16,000 immigrated to Israel in 2010; 28% of population under age of 14. The country’s population now stands at 7,695,000, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics, ahead of the start of the new civil year on Saturday. Israel’s Jews now number some 5,802,000 or 75.4 percent of the total. Arabs are 20.4% of the population, or 1,573,000 people, and the remaining 320,000, or 4.2%, are not registered as either by the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority. Overall, the numbers show a steady growth rate of 1.9%, or a net increase of 143,000 people, over the past year – a rise that has been consistent since 2003 and reflects a growth rate similar to that of the 1980s, before the mass aliya from the former Soviet Union during the 1990s. Most of the growth (88%) was the result of natural increase – births offset by deaths. Other new arrivals included immigrants (19,000) and the foreignborn children of returning Israelis (6,000). An additional 4,000 people came to Israel under a special government program that unites non-Jewish relatives with their families here. According to CBS statistics released three months ago, Israel is still a fairly young country, with 28% of its population under the age of 14, compared to 17% in most other Western countries. Only 10% of the population is over 65, while in other Western countries, that average is closer to 15%. The average Jewish family still hovers at between 2.8 and 2.9 children. In the Muslim community, the average number of children per mother is 3.73, and among Christians, it’s 2.1. The majority of the Jewish population is concentrated in Jerusalem or the Center of the country, including Tel Aviv, and 60% of the Arab population lives in the North. In fact, the CBS data show that while one-fifth of the general population lives in the North, only half of those people are Jewish. In the South, the split falls in the opposite direction, with only 11% of the population there being Arabs, mostly Beduin. By Ruth Eglash The Jerusalem Post – 29 December 2010

SELECTIONS OF ITEMS FROM VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE

Resumption of talks between the Holy See and the PLO VATICAN CITY, 9 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following English-language communique at midday today: "Talks between the Holy See and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) resumed this morning at the Headquarters of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah, following the Basic Agreement signed in 2000. The talks aimed at a

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comprehensive international agreement regulating and promoting the presence and activities of the Catholic Church in the Palestinian Territories, so strengthening the special relations between the Holy See and the PLO. "The talks were co-chaired by Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under secretary for the Holy See's relations with States, and Ziad Al-Bandak, the president's advisor for Christian relations. The talks were held in a cordial atmosphere. "Both sides agreed on establishing a working group to elaborate the aforementioned comprehensive agreement. "The Holy See delegation was composed of Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine; Bishop Salim Sayegh, vicar general of the Latin Patriarchate in Amman; Msgr. Maurizio Malvestiti, under secretary of the Congregation for Oriental Churches; Msgr. Alberto Ortega, official of the Holy See Secretariat of State; Msgr. Waldemar Sommertag, counsellor of the apostolic delegation in Jerusalem; Ghassan Faramand, legal advisor, and Fr. Emil Salayta, president of the ecclesiastical tribunal court in Jerusalem. "The Palestinian delegation was composed of Nabil Shath, member of the PLO central committee; Nimer Hamad, presidential advisor; Ambassador Shawqi Armali; Ramzi Khouri, head of the Palestinian National Fund, Bernard Sabella, member of the PLC, and lssa Kassissieh, deputy head of the Negotiations Affairs Department". VIS – 9 December 2010

Meeting of Permanent Working Commission Holy See-Israel VATICAN CITY, 10 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was an English-language communique concerning the plenary meeting of the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel, which was held at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs on 9 December. "The meeting of the plenary commission took place in a good and open atmosphere", the communique reads. "The delegation of the Holy See was headed by Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under secretary for Relations with States, and the delegation of the State of Israel was headed by Danny Ayalon, MK, deputy minister of Foreign Affairs. "At the start of the meeting, reference was made to the telegram sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. to Benyamin Netanyahu, prime minister of the State of Israel, conveying Pope Benedict XVI's assurances of his prayers and his solidarity with the families of those who lost their lives, to the wounded and to all who were affected by the recent forest fire in northern Israel, as well as 'his appreciation for the rescue efforts which were carried out with such selfless dedication', and his prayers 'that those who have lost their homes in this tragedy may soon be able to rebuild their lives'. "The Plenary discussed the next steps towards conclusion of the Agreement. "The Plenary will hold its next meeting on 16 June 2011 at the Vatican. The next 'Working Level' meeting will take place on 3 February 2011. VIS – 10 December 2010 30


Antonio Barluzzi, a Roman architect in the Holy Land What do the Basilicas of Mt. Tabor and of Gethsemane have in common? Or the façade in Crusader style of the Flagellation and the cubic, almost Cubist, tent of the Shepherds’ Field in Beit Sahur? One man: Antonio Barluzzi. Barluzzi, an Italian architect, consecrated his life to the Lord whilst remaining a layman. Or was it prayer that made him a tireless architect and never short of imagination? For each of the 24 churches, hospitals and schools that he built or restored, between 1912 and 1955, Barluzzi adopted a style that was ancient, such as on Mount Tabor, where he was inspired by the church of St. Simeon, in northern Syria – and, at the same time, totally renewed, such as for Dominus Flevit or the Shepherds’ Field. He focused his attention on the tiniest detail, both for the architecture and the decoration of the buildings, mosaics, frescoes and windows, even going so far as to design the lamps for the holy places. This is the atypical and nationalistic – as people at that period used to be – figure, a fervent Christian and tireless traveller that the two papers at the conference held at St. Saviour’s Convent brought back to life on the fiftieth anniversary of his death. The first was written by Mr. Giovanni Maria Secco Suardo, a friend of the Barluzzi family who unfortunately could not be present for family reasons. It was Fr. Giorgio Vigna, commissioner for the Holy Land for Piedmont who read the paper which, full of anecdotes, brought back to life the man, the historical context and the spirituality of the architect. The second paper was given by Mrs. Giovanna Franco Repellini. She came across Antonio Barluzzi a few years ago, when she made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. An Italian architect herself, Mrs. Repellini was impressed by Barluzzi’s creativity and, realizing that his work was practically unknown, she set out to study it and make it better known. The result of this fascinating work is what she unfortunately only briefly presented at the conference (due to lack of time, not passion). The two papers are available online on the Custody’s website, but those who live in the Holy Land and who missed the conference on the day, still have time to visit the exhibition on Antonio Barluzzi, open from Monday 20th December at the Christian Information Centre on the occasion of these commemorations. Concluding the evening, the Custos of the Holy Land said that there is no shortage of proposals – some of which at times are bizarre – for the restoration and adaptation of the holy places. Nevertheless, it is through increasing our knowledge of what prevailed in the choice of the current buildings that we realize how much care is necessary in preserving this heritage, the precious evidence of an era, a style and a faith. (http://www.custodia.org/Antonio-Barluzzi-un-architetto-in.html) A LIST OF BUILDINGS DESIGNED, BUILT OR RESTORED BY ANTONIO BARLUZZI 1. The Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane. 2. The Church of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor. 3. The Church of the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, Jericho. 4. The Church of the Flagellation, Jerusalem (restoration). 5. The Church of Visitation, Ein Karem. 31


6. The Cloister of Bethlehem (restoration) 7. The Church of St Lazarus, Bethany. 8. The Church of the Angels, Shepherds Fields, Bethlehem. 9. Dominus Flevit, Mount of Olives. 10. The Church at Bethphage (restoration) 11. A School for girls in Jericho. 12. A hospital in Amman, Jordan. 13. The Kerak Hospital, Jordan. 14. The Church of the Beatitudes, Galilee. 15. The Armenian Catholic Patriarchate, Beirut. 16. Churches and other related buildings in Amman and Madaba, Jordan. 17. The Parish Churches in Beth-Sahur, Irbid and Zerka. 18. A new house for the Carmelite Fathers of Haifa. 19. The Church at Mount Carmel. 20. The Convent of St Antony, Jerusalem. 21. The Ethiopian Monastery (restoration). 22. The Italian Legation premises at Teheran (restoration). 23. Terra Santa School, Jerusalem. 24. The Greek Church of the Holy Face and St Veronica, Jerusalem (restoration) by Marie Armelle B. Custodi of The Holy Land – 15 December 2010

Christan Information Centre invites to the exibition dedicated to the architect Antonio Barluzzi (1884-1960). The exibition is open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm at Christan Information Centre at Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem Old City.

To Our Readers: While the editor tries to exercize best judgement in the choice of items to report or reproduce in the bulletin, responsibility for the contents of items taken from other sources remains with the original authors or publishers.

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Bulletin CIC 2010_6  

Bulletin Associated Christian Press. November - December 2010 (573)

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