The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, launched a special section of the municipal Web site in Hebrew and English ahead of the visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Mayor Barkat welcomes visitors with the following text:

“On behalf of the residents of Jerusalem, it is my distinct honor to welcome His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, and the thousands of pilgrims from around the world that will be visiting Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the heart and soul of the Jewish people and a special city to more than 3 billion people of faith around the world.

“The rich history of Jerusalem continues to bring together great religions and their leaders from many cultures and faiths. Jerusalem is a true city of peace, where people of all backgrounds may practice their religious beliefs freely. Throughout the hills of Jerusalem you will breathe air full of compassion and joy, hope and happiness, rooted in the spirituality of our holy city. I know you will be inspired and rejuvenated by the faith found in every corner of Jerusalem. I welcome His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and each and every pilgrim with a message of perseverance for peace. With this historic and important visit to Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel, I know that we have taken one step closer to the religious freedom and tolerance we strive to achieve throughout the world and here in our Holy City. I wish His Holiness and all of our guests a joyous and fulfilling visit to Jerusalem.”

The municipal Web site is, and clicking the “EN” in the top left corner gives one access to the English section. The new section includes biographical information, relevant historical information and links to other governmental Web sites.

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David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.