by Hillel Fendelif, published 04/26/09, 12:00 PM
Fundamental Agreement - Israel-Holy See)
In addition, the Vatican is claiming areas around Lake Kinneret, as well as in Caesaria and Jerusalem.
Hints and implications in the Vatican and Catholic press have long indicated that the negotiations are expected to end successfully, from the Catholic vantage point, in time for Pope Benedict’s visit to Israel two weeks from now.
“This is a shame and a disgrace of unequalled proportions,” said Daisy J. Stern, M.D., who has been leading an information campaign on the topic. “Giving away these important areas has no Halakhic [Jewish legal] validity, of course, but signing it away will definitely make it very difficult to ever reclaim them.”
The director of the yeshiva explained that if the Catholic Church receives control of the area, just a few hundred yards from the Temple Mount and adjacent to the Old City walls, it will turn it into "the international center for Catholics all around the world, and if the pope just gives the word, Christians will be flocking over here en masse."
"This is an enormous issue that is being pushed through without any public debate whatsoever," he said.
Vatican Signs Agreement with Arab League
“This new agreement with the Arab League renders the Vatican, most gravely, an interested party in the Israeli-Arab dispute,” said Prof. Hillel Weiss of Bar Ilan University, who has been closely following the issue.
Of further concern is the fact that Israel is investing some 6 million shekels in improvements and renovations to various sites in preparation for the Papal visit. Work at the Last Supper room has been underway for some time.
Blueprint of an Agreement
The King David's Tomb complex, some 100,000 square feet, is "certainly one of the holiest spots in the Land of Israel," a yeshiva source said. "David, Solomon and others kings of Judea are said to be buried here. We've already given away the Temple Mount and the Machpelah Cave, except for here and there when we're allowed in; now they want to give Mt. Zion away as well? For thousands of years, this area was almost always totally closed off to Jews. G-d gave it back to us in 1948, but parts of it were still in range and sight of Jordanian snipers and were not in full use. After 1967, Rabbi Goldstein founded the Diaspora Yeshiva here - and it became an island of holiness, the first yeshiva for baalei teshuvah [newly religious] in Israel; we were there day and night learning Torah. Rabbi Goldstein was almost prophetic in establishing this yeshiva at that time at that spot; destiny from above intertwined him with Mt. Zion."