Israel and Vatican on the verge of a historic agreement

Click photo to download. Caption: Vatican City. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.( Israel and the Vatican have signed a historic agreement that will formalize diplomatic relations between the two and potentially improve Israel’s ties with the global Catholic community.

While Israel and the Vatican established formal diplomatic relations in 1993, they have differed on a number of key areas, the status of the Catholic Church in Israel, sovereignty over Catholic sites, taxation and expropriation.

One of the most contentious areas has been a 20-year dispute over the Cenacle—the traditional site of the Jesus’s Last Supper on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. According to the agreement, Israel did not give up sovereignty over the room, but it will allow the Vatican a special modicum of control over the site, including an official seat in the room, Israel Hayom reported.

In comments to the Jerusalem Post, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that the agreement is “real upgrade in relations between Israel and the Holy See, and between the Jewish people and one billion Catholics around the world, to the benefit of both sides."

Posted on January 30, 2013 .