Israeli Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon is to invite Pope John Paul II to visit the Holy Land during the coming millennium year when the two men meet this week in Rome.
    Foreign Ministry spokesman Aviv Shiron said yesterday that Sharon also will discuss Israel's plans for 2000, including plans to celebrate the millennium in Jesus' hometown, Nazareth.
    Sharon will also discuss the status of church property in the Holy Land when he meets the pope on Monday, Shiron said.
    Israel has been pushing for a papal trip to boost 2000 celebrations, and the pontiff has expressed a keen desire to travel there.
    But any visit would likely raise sensitivities: tensions have risen in recent weeks over Jerusalem, claimed by both the Israelis and the Palestinians, and over Nazareth, where violence between Christians and Muslims broke out on Easter Sunday over a plot of land near the Church of the Annunciation.

9:42am 27/4/99 / AP


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