It is the last day of the Pope’s visit to the holy land. He flies back to Rome later today, leaving behind him many unanswered questions, and many of the same doubts that greeted him on his arrival in the papacy.
He spent most of Thursday in Nazareth holding meetings with representatives of all faiths, but also political meetings, notably a private one with new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Vatican diplomats held separate private meetings with Israeli ministers. The two men discussed ways to advance the peace process, and Iran. “I asked him as a moral figure to make his voice heard loudly and contentiously against the declarations coming from Iran of their intention to destroy Israel…there is no aggressive voice being heard condemning this,” said Netanyahu. Unfortunately for the Pope some Jews have found he has not raised his voice agressively enough on their behalf during this visit, speaking at Yad Vashem for example of the killing of Jews in WWII rather than their murder, and seeming keen to repeat that the Palestinians had to have their own state nextdoor. Criticised for lacking the spontaneity of his predecessor, Benedict seemed unable, or unwilling, to deflect this criticism on the visit.