In past days, what was surprising was Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Al Rahi’s decision to be present in Bethlehem and Jerusalem on the occasion of the visit of Pope Francis. So far no Maronite Patriarch had gone to Jerusalem after the creation of the State of Israel. Criticism regarding Patriarch Al Rahi’s choice had been expressed in particular by members of the Shiite party of Hezbollah, that saw in the patriarchal visit a gesture of recognition of a State considered an enemy. The Patriarch responded to criticism pointing out that his visit will be spiritual and not political. Approximately 10 thousand Maronite Christians live in the Holy Land. After the end of the papal pilgrimage, Patriarch Rai will also travel to Haifa to meet the faithful of the local Maronite community.