The Pope has kicked off the most sensitive leg of his Middle Eastern tour with a visit to Jerusalem.
The tour is sensitive because the last time the Jews let a guy from Rome come in and tell them how to run things was how they got stuck with this whole Christianity thing in the first place.
His Holiness is understood to have put them at ease by explaining he is from Germany.
Yesterday the Pope visited the river Jordan, said to be the site of Jesus’ baptism. Upon reaching the site, the Pope turned to his Israeli hosts and said “Any takers? Jokes, people.” The Vatican is keen to keep the mood light, because the last time a senior Christian leader was in the holy land, he got a little cross.
The Pope has billed his visit to Israel as a book tour, in which he is promoting the sequel to the Old Testament. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.