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France 24

Rai storms out
of France 24 interview

Maronite Patriarch Beshara Boutros al-Rai being interviewed on France 24.

BEIRUT - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Boutros al-Rai cut short a live interview with international broadcaster France 24 on Friday, after he was angered by a series of questions on his upcoming visit to the Holy Land.

 

The presenter mentioned that some have described the visit as “a scandal” and “a suicidal step,” and pointed out that Rai will be the first patriarch to visit the Holy Land since the creation of the state of Israel.

 

After he asked if Rai would be meeting with Lebanese who sided with Israel in the Lebanese civil war, the Patriarch angrily removed his microphone and earpiece.

 

“I will not meet any political or civil personalities,” he told his host.  

 

“I know my duty as a Lebanese citizen… You do not want to understand,” Rai added before leaving the studio.

 

In early May, Rai announced that he would travel to the Holy Land to welcome the pontiff during his brief visit from May 24-26.

 

Lebanese citizens are banned from entering Israel, but Maronite clergy may travel to the Holy Land to minister to the estimated 10,000 faithful there.

 

Rai has repeatedly insisted that the trip will be strictly religious and has no political significance.

Maronite Patriarch Beshara Boutros al-Rai being interviewed on France 24.

I know my duty as a Lebanese citizen… You do not want to understand.