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  • » 04/17/2008, 00.00


    Cordiality and signs of mutual trust between the Jewish state and the Vatican

    Arieh Cohen

    This is what is emerging from the meeting of the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission, which renews its commitment to accelerate the conclusion of an agreement. Among the objectives, the restitution of the Cenacle. The plenary meeting in Rome on May 28.

    Tel Aviv (AsiaNews) - With the "joint communique" released at the end of its work, yesterday, April 16, at the office of the Israeli foreign ministry, the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission of the Holy See and the state of Israel announced that it will hold its next plenary session on May 28, at the Vatican.

    "Plenary" is the name given to the session presided over by the highest levels (just beneath the ministerial level) of the respective foreign dicasteries and also including other officials, in addition to those who take part in the "working" sessions that are held in the meantime, between one plenary session and the other.  The plenary sessions have been resumed only since May 21, 2007, after a five year interval (since March 12, 2002 ), and it seems that the two parties intend to hold them every six months, as they have done since the first session of this new series.

    As on other occasions, the communique for the current "working" meeting says that it was characterised by "an atmosphere of great cordiality" (which a participant who spoke with AsiaNews fully confirmed) and that, in such an atmosphere, the delegations "renewed their shared determination to speed up their work in order to conclude the Agreement as soon as possible".  The desired Agreement, previously requested by the Fundamental Agreement of December 30, 1993, should above all reconfirm the historical tax exemptions for the Church, and effect the restitution to the Church of some ecclesiastical properties lost over the years, in particular, among others, the church-shrine of Caesarea Maritima (in addition to, naturally, the holy Cenacle).

    The announcement of the date of the upcoming plenary session, says one expert on Church-state relations in Israel, interviewed by AsiaNews, would be a good sign of the seriousness of the negotiations, and could be seen as an indication that the delegations have developed relationships of "mutual trust", and methods of "straightforward collaboration aimed at reaching a common goal".

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    See also

    13/12/2006 VATICAN - ISRAEL
    Holy See-Israel: painstaking resumption of negotiations
    An interview-analysis with Oded Ben Hur, Israeli ambassador to the Vatican on the reasons for delays and difficulties. At the root of it all is Israel’s refusal to recognize that the Fundamental Agreement is an international treaty.

    11/12/2009 VATICAN - ISRAEL
    Holy See-Israel talks in crisis, according to Yedioth Aharonoth
    The most popular newspaper quotes the head of Israeli delegation Daniel Ayalon who speaks of failure in sight. Yet the joint statement exalts "mutual understanding". According to experts, an Israeli government trick to placate anti-Christian fundamentalist Israelis. Concerns over the possibility of confiscation of Capharnaum and the basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

    06/02/2008 VATICAN – ISRAEL
    Holy See-Israel Commission meet again
    The short press release says talks between the parties were conducted in “great cordiality.” another meeting has been set for 17 March. Negotiations have been going on for 15 years.

    13/12/2006 VATICAN - ISRAEL
    Holy See-Israel accords are elements of international law
    Bishops and Catholic experts explain and clarify the position of the Holy See in talks with Israel. The Church is not seeking “privileges” but only recognition of those rights that Israel itself has promised several times over to observe.

    24/11/2005 ISRAEL – VATICAN
    Progress in negotiations between the Holy See and Israel

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