Palestinian workers hold a banner bearing portraits of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas (L) and Pope Francis in front of the Church of Nativity, in the West Bank Town of Bethlehem, on May 14, 2014. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX
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Pope Francis is shunning bulletproof vehicles during his trip to the Middle East this month, insisting that he use a normal car and be allowed to be as close to people as possible, the Vatican said Thursday.The Vatican, briefing reporters on the trip, also confirmed a rabbi and an Islamic leader would accompany the pope on his trip to the Middle East in a gesture of the importance he attaches to inter-religious dialogue. Francis will visit Jordan, and Israel during the May 24-26 trip, his first as pope to the region. Francis' predecessors were driven in bulletproof limousines on their trips, whether in Rome or abroad.Lombardi said he was not aware of any particular security concerns for any part of the trip.
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