An overwhelming number of rabbis, reporters, pundits, journalists and academics in Israel have joined forces to welcome the Pope Benedict XVI on his scheduled visit to Israel.

Israel’s official radio and TV stations have gone out of their way to present hourly updates concerning the Papal visit.

However, dissenting voices to the official welcome are now being heard in diverse circles.

General (res.) Giora Eiland, the former head of the Israel National Security Council, wrote a guest editorial in Israel’s largest daily newspaer, Yediot Aharonot, titled “Harmful Groveling.”

AdSys ad not found for news/world:instory –>

In his article, he wrote: “It would have been better for this visit not to take place, and contrary to conventional wisdom, it will cause diplomatic harm to Israel rather than benefit.”

Gen. Eiland reminded the Israeli public that Pope Benedict XVI had served as a conscript in the German army, the Wehrmacht, which played a major role in the mass murder of Jews during World War II.

He also criticized the Pope’s desire to beatify Pope Pius XII, who served in the Vatican during World War II.

He wrote: “There are dozens of reports documenting Church representatives, the Cardinals of Holland, Austria and Ukraine, who sent letters to the pope reporting murderous acts by the Nazis, with dates, places and numbers of victims… Pope Pius XII opted to disregard this”

Gen. Eiland also reminded the public that “there were senior Catholic figures who asked him to issue a clear statement, which, even if it did not deter the Nazis, would at least give rise to hesitations among Catholic collaborators in Poland, Ukraine and other countries,” yet “the Pope refused.”

Gen. Eiland also raised questions about the Pope’s desire to visit the State of Israel and raised the fear that “He wants to come here because the holiest sites to Christianity happen to be under Israeli sovereignty.”

Yet from Gen. Eilan’s point of view, the unkindest cut of all was when “The [P]ope voiced support for the Durban II conference” along with his visit to the Palestinian Authority in an United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) refugee camp near the security fence next to Bethlehem, “so that Palestinian refugees and the fence will provide a fine backdrop for his message.”

Given this background, Gen. Eiland questioned Israel’s willingness to host the Pope and to cover the full $10 million in costs from Israeli taxpayer money, with more than 80,000 police officers assigned to the task at hand.

In conclusion, Gen. Eiland wrote: “Groveling before the pope is a shameful act, and contrary to conventional wisdom, it bears no diplomatic benefit. Just as an unnecessary confrontation can harm the state’s standing, so too can unnecessary groveling be harmful. If we were to say to the Vatican that ‘the time is not right for a visit,’ we would be doing something both justified from a Jewish standpoint and wise from a diplomatic standpoint.”

David Bedein can be reached at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Previous articleRare 2,000-Year-Old Hebrew Papyrus Seized In Operation
Next articleBehind The Scenes Of The Papal Visit
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.