From: Booth, William
Sent: Wednesday, March 9, 2016 5:32 PM
To: Goodman, Meghan K. EOP/OVP
Subject: VP Pool Report 3
VP Joe Biden made an unannounced stop in Jerusalem's Old City on Wednesday.
Biden visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which contains two of the holiest sites in Christendom, the place where tradition holds that Jesus was crucified and the empty tomb where he was resurrected from the dead.
Biden was accompanied by three of his grandchildren and his daughter-in-law Hallie Olivere Biden, who was married to Biden's son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015.
There was heavy security at the Jaffa Gate where Biden entered the Old City, scene of a rash of Palestinian attacks against Israeli soldier and civilians. Israeli police kept visitors away from the church for an hour while Biden was inside.
Biden was met at the heavy doors of the church by representatives of several of the Christian denominations who share authority for the holy site.
Adeeb Jawad Joudeh Al Husseini, who told Biden that his Muslim family has been entrusted as keepers of the keys to the church for 800 years, also greeted the Biden family and let the vice president briefly hold a large metal key.
A Franciscan priest, Father Peter Vasco, stepped up and announced that he was from Brooklyn but had lived for decades in Jerusalem and that he would take the Bidens on a tour of the church.
Biden, a Roman Catholic, made a joke about the rivalry between Jesuits and Franciscans.
Father Vasco laughed and the entourage went inside.
The tour was off-limits to the press.
Inside the Bidens could be seen stopping at the marble slab where tradition says Jesus's body was washed and prepared for burial.
Outside, bystanders could hear priests signing inside and smell incense burning.
from William Booth/The Washington Post
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