The Israeli police have put several right-wing Jewish 'extremists' on house arrest during Pope Francis's upcoming visit, international media reports Wednesday, after the Vatican has expressed concerns about the pope's safety in the wake of "price tag" attacks.
"The police and Shin Bet (security service) have taken out restraining orders against several right-wing activists, who according to information from Shin Bet are planning to commit provocative acts during the pope's visit," Police spokesman Luba Samri told AFP.
The papacy has been up in arms over 'price tag' attacks, a euphemism for politically-motivated vandalism and criminal damage usually attributed to Jewish extremists, carried out either in revenge for Arab terrorist attacks, or in protest of Israeli government policies such as the destruction of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.
"The bishops are very concerned about the lack of security and lack of responsiveness from the political sector, and fear an escalation of violence," it said in a statement earlier this month, noting there had been "no gesture of solidarity or condemnation" from Israel's political establishment. "We feel neither safe nor protected."
Police have already stated that they will deploy an extra 8,000 officers in Jerusalem alone during the visit, in an effort to assuage Rome's fears.
In addition, the Defense Ministry has already silenced at least one well-known Temple Institute official, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, for organizing protests against the Vatican's involvement with King David's Tomb while the Pope is in Israel.
It is not known if the Patriarchate has issued any kind of statement regarding the persecution of Christians in the areas administered by the Palestinian Authority(PA).
The Vatican seems to be dismissing threats against Christians in the PA, however - as Pope Francis is due to ride through Bethlehem and other dangerous areas in an open, unarmed convoy.