In an off-guarded moment his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has expressed a wish for some variety in an otherwise intense and politically sensitive visit to Israel.
His itinerary is thus:
Monday: Arrive in Israel. Meet President Shimon Peres
Tuesday: Visit the Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall. Celebrate Holy Mass in Josaphat Valley
Wednesday: Visit Bethlehem, visit refugees, meet Mahmoud Abbas
Thursday: Mass in Nazareth, talks with Benjamin Netanyahu, meet Franciscans
Friday: Meet Orthodox Christian leaders. Depart
Following a brief press conference in Jerusalem, his Holiness spoke with aides off camera but had left his microphone switched on. The audio is somewhat muffled but the words "Boring, boring, boring!" certainly stand out. There is a plea for " a visit to a theme park" or "an evening cabaret".
It is understood that Vatican officials have hastily scheduled in a game of tennis over the West Bank barrier, a fireworks display from the Palestinian Grad Missile Co-operative, and an evening of lap dancing from the Gaza Strip.