The paper describes the episode of the Militia of the Holy Land, which took place at the sidelines of the Arab-Israeli war in the summer of 1948. Since the Holy Places were in danger, in some catholic circles grew the idea of sending volunteers, in order to defend Christian’s sanctuaries. All proposals put forward by the Order of Malta, the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher and the Roman delegation of the Holy Land, failed. None of the planned expeditions were implemented. Nevertheless, these episodes, and specifically the Franciscan Militia, drew the attention of the international press and diplomats. Disavowed by the Vatican and the order of Minors and disapproved by Western diplomats, the Militia was not implemented. This, despite the great success among the community of believers and in the public opinion, showed that the idea to connect the issue of the protection of shrines with the Italian involvement in the region, could create sufficient support. Exactly for this reason, this episode is a good observation point to evaluate how the Italian catholic world faced the birth of Israel and the dawn of European influence in the Levant.
Keywords: First Arab-Israeli war, the Holy Land, Holy Places, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, 1948, Holy See-Israel