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Israel restricts right-wing Jewish activists for Pope's visit
ByREUTERS
May 21, 2014 21:52
Restraining orders issued after anti-Christian slogans; Pope Francis to visit Holy Land next week.
Hilltop youth [illustrative]

Hilltop youth [illustrative] 311 (R). (photo credit:REUTERS/Nir Elias)

Israel issued restraining orders against several Jewish right-wing activists on Wednesday, restricting their movements over concern that they could try to disrupt a May 24-26 visit to the Holy Land by Pope Francis.

Francis will visit Jordan, the Palestinian Territories and Israel during the trip, his first as pope to the region.



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An Israeli police spokesman said police and the Shin Bet internal security service handed restraining orders to "a number of right-wing activists" whom they believed intended to cause "disruptions during the pope's visit and be involved in provocative illegal acts".

The spokesman declined to say how many activists received the orders. But he said they would not be allowed to enter certain areas "for security reasons" for four days.

Last week, "Death to Arabs and Christians and all those who hate Israel" was daubed in Hebrew on an outer column of the Office of the Assembly of Bishops at the Notre Dame Center in East Jerusalem.

Francis is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Notre Dame Center, which is Vatican property located just outside the walls of the old city, on the last day of his trip.

Chief Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said on Thursday he was not aware of any particular security concerns for any part of the visit. The pope, he said, would shun bulletproof vehicles during the trip and use a normal car so he could be as close to people as possible.

The last papal journey to the Holy Land was by Francis's predecessor, Pope Benedict, in 2009.

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