Pope, Peres to make simultaneous announcement about Papal visit to Israel

At his weekly Sunday sermon in the Vatican today, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to make an official announcement concerning his upcoming visit to the Holy Land. The announcement is scheduled for 1 p.m. Israel time, when President Shimon Peres will officially make a similar announcement. The Pope is coming to Israel as the President's guest and it was agreed between the Vatican and Beit Hanassi that the announcement would be made simultaneously by the pope and the president. The pope is expected to arrive in Israel on May 10, and will tour Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem, all of which have particular significance for the Catholic Church. However, Peres, who will be visiting the Upper Galilee on Sunday, will not make the announcement from Beit Hanassi in Jerusalem, but from the Roaring Lion plaza at Tel Hai, which is about as symbolic as he can get under the circumstances, given that the lion is the official symbol of Jerusalem.