Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land - 28/03/2000 info:
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Jordan Valley - Tel Aviv, Tuesday, March 21, 2000 at 4:50 - 5.30 p.m.

Pope John Paul II flew in a military helicopter from Wadi Kharrar to Queen Alia International Airport where he was greeted by their Royal Highnesses King Abdullah II and Queen Rania. A guard of honour was in the waiting. He then walked side by side with the King to inspect the guard of honour which was in the waiting. From there he left on a Royal Jordanian plane staight to Tel Aviv.

The Royal Jordanian aeroplane touched down at Ben Gurion International Airport and was welcomed with the sound of fanfares. The weather did not spare those present and some drizzle made all on the runway to put up their umbrellas. The sun was setting in the West and the Israeli authorities led by the President of Israel Eliezer Weizman and the Prim Minister of Israel Ehud Barak awaited for the Pope to alight from the aircraft. A guard of honour stood at the foot of the steps of the plane to welcome the Pope. President Weizman then went straight to the plane to greet the Pope in this land of Israel and lead him to the podium for the national hymns. Present by the aeroplane to welcome the pope were also the Apostolic Nunzio and the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah together with the Custos of the Holy Land Fr. Giovanni Battistelli. The Nunzio to Israel went up to the plane and invited the Pope to alight. Because of the wind he had to take off his white "kippa" and slowly but steadily came down the plane steps to touch this Land of the Promise, the Holy Land blessed by God and through Jesus Christ. As soon as he came down he kissed the Israeli soil presented to him by a group of small children. The he walked to the President of Israel and his lady and to the Prime Minister and his Lady. Standing and flanked by the president of Israel on the right and the Prime Minister on the left he assisted to the national hymns played by the military band. At the end of the hymns he was invited to inspect the guard of honour which he did again flanked by the President and Prime Minister. he stopped to salute the flags of the regiments and then kept walking towards a podium where he was greeted by the local political and religious authorities. The President of Israel Eliazer Weizman then welcomed the Pope with the traditional hebrew greeting "Baruch haba".


The Pope than delivered his speech.


After these speeches the Pope flew off to Jerusalem on a military Helicopter. This was the last leg of today's long and eventful day. The Pope will stay at the Apostolic Delegate's residence at the foot of Mount Scopus next to the Mount of Olives where a helipad was purfposely built for the papal helicopter. It is from this helipad that the Pope will leave for the various phases of his pilgrimage and it is here that he will come every night to rest. Arriving in Jerusalem he was flown over the city for a panoramic view and as he landed all the bells were ringing.

Created / Updated Tuesday, March 28, 2000 at 22:16:13