Breaking News Stories
These are news stories breaking after the publishing of this Word
– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
Prediction 12: A visit by cardinals and/or the Pope himself to Jerusalem.
Pope to get seat over the Tomb of King
by Jewish Israel
Outgoing Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon is leaving his mark on
Jerusalem. After years of negotiations with the Vatican over property
and tax issues, it seems that an historic breakthrough is near.
Headlines in the Jerusalem Post announced, "Jerusalem is on verge of
signing agreement to formalize diplomatic relations with the Holy See".
However, there are conflicting and disturbing reports regarding the
status of the "Last Supper Room" (also referred to as the "Upper Room",
"Cenacle Shrine" or "Coenaculum"), which sits above the traditional Tomb
of King David and is a central part of the Diaspora Yeshiva grounds on
Mt. Zion. For many years the Catholic church has been vying for
ownership of the room which is considered by many Christians to be the
traditional site of the location of the last supper. The room itself is
a 12th century Crusader structure, built on top of the traditional Tomb
of King David.
Whereas The Jerusalem Post claims that the two sides have "essentially
decided to agree to disagree on the matter", Israel Hayom is reporting
that the agreement will grant the Pope "an official seat" in the Upper
Room, as well as giving the Vatican "a special modicum of control over
the site". Algemeiner reports that Israel "did not give up sovereignty",
but "will allow the Vatican control over the site".
The Israeli Foreign Ministry makes no mention of Mt. Zion in their
report of January 29th.
Jewishisrael contacted the Diaspora Yeshiva on Mt. Zion for their
reaction to the incoming news reports. The Tomb of King David and the
room of the purported last supper are on Yeshiva grounds. For decades,
the Diaspora Yeshiva has never interfered with the considerable
Christian tourism to the "Upper Room" and has even taken steps to
renovate the area.
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, son of the Diaspora Yeshiva's founder, who
teaches at the institution as well as serves as the rabbi of the
community of Metzad in Gush Etzion, reacted with shock to the possible
compromising of the area. He told JewishIsrael that these reports infer
"a change in the status quo and will disrupt the Yeshiva environment".
He said that "church chanting and services would disturb the Jews who
come from all over Israel and the world to pray and recite psalms at the
tomb of King David –which is directly below the Upper Room".
Rabbi Goldstein noted that the Diaspora Yeshiva directors have never
been consulted or included in the negotiations nor have they been kept
abreast of developments by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
We contacted Rick Halpern, director of the Mt. Zion Redevelopment
Project, who has been instrumental in developing and renovating the
Diaspora Yeshiva grounds and the area in and around the Tomb of King
David. The following is his response to the incoming reports:
"Having worked with the Diaspora Yeshiva to restore several of their
buildings on Mt. Zion, I am very disturbed to hear this, though I am not
surprised. One of the outstanding features of Mt. Zion is the
peacefulness of its setting. Though the Yeshiva maintains a dominant
presence, other groups from other denominations are also there, and all
have coexisted respectfully. The Vatican has aggressively sought the
Last Supper Room and other sites in Israel for years, using whatever
means they have to get them. Though the Last Supper room has been a
non-denominational tourist destination for Christians of all sects, this
latest move is an affront to that as well. In the real estate business,
location-location-location is the key. The Vatican has their whole
infrastructure in Rome, while Jerusalem is where the "action" is. This
strategic move by the Vatican will be used to openly promote their
agenda, regardless of the placid Jewish environment & the
non-denominational Christian atmosphere that surrounds David's Tomb."
JewishIsrael has repeatedly expressed concern over any negotiations
which would compromise Mount Zion. We have been especially concerned
over Daniel Ayalon's position as chief negotiator on Vatican issues,
since he is a maverick when it comes to ventures to grant Christians
special status in Israel. Both Daniel Ayalon and his wife, Anne, are
intimately involved with the Evangelical and Catholic communities and
have comfortably appeared on missionary television . Anne has
significant business and real estate dealings with the Christian
community and was listed as a "Talking Head" for the Pope's Visit on
Christian-Israeli Relations” in a pamphlet put out by The Israel Project
(T.I.P.) at the time of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit in May 2009.
In November 2005, this writer reacted to reports of an apparent swap
deal between Israel and the Vatican which would grant the Vatican
control of the Upper Room. I was in correspondence with David Chappell,
then deputy managing editor of the Times of London, who confirmed my
concerns of a draft agreement. At the time, a number of activists formed
the Committee to Save Mt. Zion and effective pressure was exerted on the
Israeli government to abandon the plans to relinquish control of the
Jewishisrael will continue to seek clarification on this matter and we
encourage our readership to contact Daniel Ayalon and write to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs :
Foreign Minister's office:
Director General's office:
FM Public Relations: email@example.com