April 24, 2009.
Sport gets you what politics can’t. Israelis and Palestinians have taken part in a marathon between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. A race for peace, in memory of John Paul II.
This is the sixth edition of this initiative organized by the Vatican and the Centro Sportivo Italiano.
The runners departed from the square of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where the torch of peace was lit. After traveling about two and a half kilometers into Palestinian territory, the athletes went through the checkpoint to enter Israel.
Raphael Ben Hur
Director General, Ministerio de Turismo (Israel)
You come again to Israel to see the love that we would like to give to our brothers Christians and Palestinians.
It was very nice, very good weather ... and the people, Italian, Israelis and Palestinians, it's fine! It's my second time here.
We want to make peace between us and the Italian people and the Israeli.
And like any competition, the race ended with an awards ceremony.
Presidente, Centro Sportivo Italiano
Truly, 10 unforgettable kilometers that will remain in the heart of each one, with the conviction that once more, for the sixth consecutive year, peace has run the race with us in our hearts.
Mons. Josef Clemens
Secretario, Pont. Consejo para los Laicos
Sport unites people and is a great means for understanding, for peace, and I believe that this has been very visible, proven.
The Jerusalem-Bethlehem Marathon dedicated to John Paul II, was the first stage of a much longer race, linking Rome and Bethlehem. Participants will tour some places from the life of St. Paul. No less than 1,300 kilometers remain to reach St. Peter's Square on May 27.