- The Jerusalem Police on Monday morning sealed off a conference hall at the Ambassador Hotel in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, following the Palestinian Authority's plan to hold a briefing for foreign and Palestinian journalists ahead of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Israel (YNet News):
The auditorium was closed due to an order signed by Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, following intelligence information received by the police. Officers from the Jerusalem central unit's minority division arrived at the place with additional forces and presented the order, issued in accordance with the "implementation law", which states that any PA activity in all parts of Jerusalem is forbidden.The Palestinian prime minister's advisor for Jerusalem affair, Khatem Abdel Kader, protested:
"If the minister and the Israelis think that by closing the media center they can thwart our preparations to greet the pope and cover his visit – they are mistaken," he said.
- Two Bethlehem University students were detained on their way to participate in an interfaith conference with Pope Benedict XVI Tuesday, university officials said (Maan News Agency):
According to BU the two men were stopped and then denied entry to Jerusalem by Israeli authorities. The delegates were faculty members at the university, university alumni and Bethlehem-area natives. The reasons for their denial were not explained.
“Unfortunately” the university commented, “this experience is common for our students, faculty and staff, many of whom navigate a maze of checkpoints, soldiers and other structures of military occupation simply to be present on campus.”
- For and against: Jerusalemites and the papal visit, by Abe Selig (Jerusalem Post):
Residents of the capital exhibited a range of emotions about the pope's visit on Tuesday, as closed roads and beefed-up security snarled traffic and people were forced to either alter their routine, or suffer the consequences.
"It was quite bad getting in this morning," one commuter said, as she sat outside a cafe near the city center. "But I heard that by the afternoon already, things were getting better."
But others reflected on lost business and a general difficulty in getting things done, as Benedict's motorcade and a huge apparatus of Jerusalem police, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) agents and assorted government officials clogged parts of downtown throughout the morning.
- Haaretz reports that Pope Benedict XVI will be staying at the home of the Vatican's ambassador to Israel, located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem -- "standard protocol," according to Vatican officials.
- From Salt Lake City's Desert News, a story on Brigham Young University's Jerusalem Center, which is hosting 5 members of the Pope's entourage:
"We're cooperating with them so that they're close by to where he is staying, and they're available to him and can easily travel with him wherever he goes," said S. Kent Brown, assistant director of the BYU Jerusalem Center.
Brown, who has previously served as the center's director, said leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have maintained a good relationship with Archbishop Antonio Franco, the Apostolic Nuncio to Israel — or the papal ambassador to Israel — whose official residence is next door to the center.
- Depeche Mode, the pope and Lag Ba'omer (Jerusalem Post) -- while the arrival of the Pope and 80's rock band garner media attention, Yonatan Seredni reminds his Jewish readers of another celebration. (For more about Lag Ba'omer, click here).