Vatican     SPOKESMAN 'PLEASANTLY SURPRISED' BY ISRAELI PRESS
After Pope John Paul II's visit to Israel, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls expressed surprise that the Holy Father had successfully 'won over' the Israeli press.
   He said: "The first few days it revealed a slight mistrust and expressed some doubts. However, when the Pope visited the Memorial to the Holocaust in Yad Vashem, the Israeli press changed and grew enthusiastic with this Pope whom they were seeing firsthand in their land.
   "It could not have turned out better, because opinions of individuals have not betrayed the meaning of the trip. They understood and appreciated it," he continued.
   Navarro-Valls said it was not surprising that the pilgrimage had been front page news in newspapers around the world, with over 3000 reporters accredited by the Jerusalem Press Office. But the warm reception by the Israeli press was unexpected. Zenit (available soon)
29/3/00

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