Pope Francis to lay wreath on Theodor Herzl’s grave

Pope Francis. Credit: Casa Rosada via Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) Pope Francis will lay a wreath on Theodor Herzl’s grave in Jerusalem during his historic visit to Israel next week, signifying the change in the papacy’s attitude toward Israel, reported Israel Hayom. When Herzl approached then-Pope Pius X for support in establishing a Jewish state 110 years ago, he was denied outright.

Meanwhile, Israel has no plans to change ownership of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, despite the Vatican’s push for Israel to hand over the Cenacle—the room where the Last Supper took place—to the Catholic Church.

“No change has been made nor is any change to the status quo expected—and there has been no transfer of the [ownership] rights of any prayer areas from one religion to another,” the Prime Minister’s Office and Israeli Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

The clarification was made amid rumors that Israel had agreed to give the Cenacle to the Vatican. Lior Haiat, a Foreign Ministry official who is handling public diplomacy for the papal visit, told JNS.org last week that rumors surrounding a transfer of sovereignty over the Last Supper room were “untrue.”

Posted on May 21, 2014 .