Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Vatican-Israel diplomatic accord finally near completion?

Catholic World News - January 30, 2013

A long-overdue diplomatic accord between the Vatican and Israel is finally near completion, according to a top Israeli negotiator.

Israel’s deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon—who took part in the latest round of talks—told reporters that at a January 29 meeting in Jerusalem, representatives of the Holy See and the Israeli state were on the brink of concluding an agreement that would establish the juridical rights of the Catholic Church in Israel. Ayalon said that the agreement would be ready for ratification when a new Israeli government takes power.

“All the groundwork is finished,” said Ayalon, adding that the accord will be “nothing short of a milestone” in the relationship between Israel and the Holy See.

The Vatican-Israeli accord was promised as part of the “Fundamental Agreement” that was announced in 1993, opening the way for Vatican recognition of Israel. Negotiations proceeded fitfully for several years, and had effectively stopped before US intervention helped prompt renewed talks beginning in 2004. Since that time, Israeli government spokesmen have often said that an agreement was close, whereas Vatican officials have been more circumspect in their public statements.

A Vatican statement following the January 29 meeting was characteristically muted, saying only that the negotiations had taken place “in a thoughtful and constructive atmosphere,” that “significant progress was made,” and that participants in the negotiations looked forward to “a speedy conclusion of the Agreement.” The Vatican and Israeli negotiators have agreed to meet again in Rome in June 2013.

According to a Jerusalem Post report, the current draft of the agreement establishes that Church properties will be exempt from taxation, but Church-owned business will be taxed at the usual rates. The accord would protect certain Catholic shrines—at Nazareth, Capernaum, and the Mount of the Beatitudes—from state expropriation. The accord reportedly does not include an agreement on the ownership of the building that houses the site of the Last Supper, which is claimed by both Catholics and Jews.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach five million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our April expenses ($18,300 to go):
$35,000.00 $16,700.48
52% 48%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Round Trip to the present moment: a Catholic jazz artist's latest offering 16 hours ago
Easter with the Pope April 21
Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline April 17
The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer April 16
Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Easter Vigil homily (full text) CWN - April 20
Pope Francis's Easter Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video CWN - April 20