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Pope’s Mideast trip will test diplomatic skills

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As he did on his first foreign trip to Brazil, Francis is shunning the bullet-proof popemobile his predecessors used overseas in favor of an open-topped car so he can better greet well-wishers.

Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said officials had few concerns about security and the faithful mobbing the pope since "it’s not like we’re going to a country where Catholics are a majority and great crowds are expected."

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But it’s not entirely worry free: Israel’s national police issued restraining orders against several Jewish extremists this week for allegedly planning to disrupt the visit. In recent weeks, vandals have scribbled anti-Arab and anti-Christian graffiti on Christian holy sites and properties in the region.

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