This paper concerns the journey of Celeste Bastianetto, an Italian Christian Democratic Senator, during the First Arab-Israeli war in 1948. He went to Palestine as Il Popolo correspondent, but it immediately appeared that his presence was crucial, not just for his role as correspondent, but also for the connections he was able to establish. Thus, he had important exchanges with both Israeli political circles and Catholics in the Holy Land. His mission seems significant for two different reasons. It represented the beginning of a relationship between the Italian and Israeli governments. This was one of the first inquiries about the presence of Catholics in the region, after the war and the exodus of Arabs. Bastianetto, who was in contact with the Vatican Secretary of State, understood that the main issue for the future of Christianity in that area didn’t concern the preservation of Holy Places but the need to maintain Christian presence in this land. This episode concerns not only the reciprocal relationship between Italy and Israel but mainly the most tangled issue about the Catholic’s presence in the Holy Land.
Keywords: First Arabic-Israeli war; Holy Land; Christians in Middle East; relationship between Italy and Israel; 1948; Catholic Church and Israel