Dr. Joseph Frager
It wasn't always fashionable for Popes to visit Israel.
The State of Israel's existence is contradictory to the Vatican's Doctrine and Dogma. The Papal Visits to Israel do not necessarily erase or lessen their true feelings. The trips may only mask them. Israel's attempt for its part to try to appease the Vatican by increasing Prayer time at King David's Tomb and even worse possibly hand over sovereignty is beneath the pale. It ranks right up there with all of Israel's recent blunders including handing over Joseph's Tomb to the Arabs. Why the need to appease the Vatican is beyond the mind's reach.
There have been Popes that have been sincere in their attempts at Rapprochement with the Jewish People. One such Pope was Pope John XXIII who changed Vatican Doctrine in a major way by convening Vatican Council II. Pope John XXIII may well have been assassinated for his revolutionary stand towards the Jewish People. He was recently declared a Saint by Pope Francis.
A personal story about Pope John XXIII comes to mind. In 1962 a Religious Jewish man from Queens, New York who's name was Oscar Goldman and who I spent several hours interviewing before he passed away happened to meet Pope John XXIII. Not too many Jews had a chance to meet with a Pope in those days. Mr. Goldman told me that Pope John XXIII was genuine and wanted a true Rapprochement with the Jewish People. He gave Mr. Goldman a chance to see what the Vatican had accumulated over 2000 years from the Jewish People.
It was a virtual treasure trove of artifacts many from the Second Temple. Mr. Goldman told me it was in a room in the "Basement" of the Basilica. I have tried in vain for over 25 years to find out more about this "treasure trove". I have received only static and double talk about its existence. If a true Rapprochement is to be achieved, the Vatican (as I believe Pope John XXIII was trying to do) must open up its vast collection of Hebraica, Manuscripts, and Temple Artifacts and not just pay lip service to the State of Israel.