Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris arrived in Israel on Monday as a guest of the Minister of Tourism Isaac Herzog. During his visit, the Archbishop is expected to sign a Holocaust remembrance treaty at Yad Vashem, meet with Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and visit Bethlehem.
“This is a historical visit, which might have significant effects on pilgrimage to the Holy Land,” Herzog said.
Church leaders, Catholic clergy, pilgrimage administrators and the French media accompanied the Archbishop on this historic trip.
Archbishop Vingt-Trois holds close ties with Pope Benedict XVI. He is considered a believer in human rights and in peace making between peoples and he hopes to bring a message of peace to the Israelis and the Palestinians.
In addition to meeting with key Israeli and Palestinian delegates, the archbishop will spend the week touring Christian holy sites, including Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee.
The treaty at Yad Vashem commits the Catholic Church to cooperating with the center on a special study about Holocaust victims.
The Ministry of Tourism commissioned 16 tour guides to accompany the Catholic delegation on their tour.