Israeli Envoy Recalls Pope's Message During 2000 Trip

ROME, MARCH 18, 2003 ( On the third anniversary of John Paul II’s visit to the Holy Land, the Israeli ambassador to the Vatican called attention to the papal message of peace left there.

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«While clouds of war gather in the Middle East, let us try to raise our spirits and remember the message of better times,» ambassador Yosef Lamdan said in his address at the commemorative meeting Monday.

Three years earlier, the Pope had landed in Israel on a flight from Jordan. The commemoration was held at the Israeli Embassy, and included a concert in the auditorium of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music.

According to the ambassador, the Pope «seemed to be in harmony with Jews, Christians and Muslims» during his stay in the Holy Land.

«He inspired us and gave us hope; his greatest desire, I think, was to imagine an era of peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, and in the Middle East in general,» the ambassador said, according to Vatican Radio.

«Unfortunately, in the following months the situation deteriorated,» he said. «The threat of war arose in different corners of the region, but we must never forget his message of peace, we must never lose hope.»

The concert was performed by the Solarem Ensemble, composed of Israeli musicians under the baton of maestro Zvi Carmeli.

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