Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: "It is a great honor for me to host the Cardinal in Jerusalem. I see great importance in maintaining warm connections between the Christian and Jewish communities, and in strengthening and walking along the path that represents the life of Cardinal Lustiger. I hereby invite the members of the Christian community in France to visit Israel, to enjoy the beauty and the historical and religious treasures that this land has to offer, while strengthening inter-faith ties."
His Eminence, André the Twenty-third, Cardinal of Paris arrived in Israel last week for a historic visit, accompanied by a 130-strong delegation. The Cardinal participated in a ceremony unveiling a commemoration plaque at Abu Ghosh in memory of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, who converted from Judaism and worked within the Catholic Church to promote close ties between Christianity and Judaism.
Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau hosted a festive reception last weekend in honor of the Cardinal and his delegation at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. During the course of his visit, the Cardinal led prayers in churches throughout Israel, visited the Old City of Jerusalem, Qasr el-Yahud, Qumran, Masada, the Ramon Crater, Beit Hatfutzot and Bethlehem. The visit generated publicity in the Christian media, including coverage by six accompanying journalists from the French Catholic media who were guests of the Tourism Ministry.
The Tourism Ministry attaches great importance to this visit of leading opinion-formers in France, who have the capability of making significant contributions in increasing pilgrimage tourism from France.
In 2012, about 300,000 tourists arrived in Israel from France, of whom 60% were Jewish and 29% Christian.
Photo credit: Dudi Salem