JERUSALEM (Jan. 17)
The first group of Catholic Pilgrims to visit the new city of Jerusalem in 1950, the Vatican-proclaimed Holy Year, were received today by Daniel Auster, Mayor of Jewish Jerusalem. The group consisted of 23 high Church dignitaries from Italy, Spain, France, Argentina and Austria.
Mayor Auster, speaking in Hebrew, assured the party that pilgrims were welcome in Jewish Jerusalem and that the city can accommodate thousands of them. Members of the group praised the friendly relations they had found in Nazareth between Jews and Christian Arabs and spoke highly of the religious freedom prevailing in Israel. The members of the party were also impressed with what they saw at two kibbutzim which they visited.
The party was the first group of pilgrims to receive permission from Jordan authorities to cross the lines from Jewish Jerusalem to the Old City and Bethlehem, and then return to Israel. However, it is not possible to judte Jordan’s final position on the question of permitting pilgrims to move freely across the lines because this group is made up of prominent personalities who would receive special consideration in any event.