BEIRUT – Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai said that he was “reassured” by his visit to the Holy Land, which has been the subject of severe criticism from anti-Israel parties.
“Let them say whatever they want. My visit is of religious and pastoral [nature],” Rai said in comments published in Al-Hayat newspaper on Sunday.
“Jerusalem is for us all,” he added.
Rai's visit coincides with Pope Francis's three-day pilgrimage to Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories, which began Saturday.
The Maronite Patriarch’s trip is the first by a Lebanese religious official to the Holy Land since the state of Israel was established in 1948.
Rai has come under intense fire from media outlets that support Hezbollah, which dominates Lebanese politics and advocates armed struggle against Israel.