NEW YORK (Oct. 21)
The American Jewish Committee has welcomed a report that the Vatican “favors the diplomatic recognition of Israel.” The statement was issued by Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, director of international relations for the Committee, who said the agency’s comment was based on an NBC news report from Rome that the Vatican now favors such a move.
Tanenbaum, who until recently had been the AJCommittee’s director of interreligious affairs and who is presently in charge of the Committee’s relationship with the Vatican, also said “as we have informed Vatican authorities, during a number of conversations in recent years, the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel would be a significant contribution to the cause of peace and reconciliation in the Middle East.”
He said “it would signal to rejectionist Arab states that the Vatican supports the existence of the State of Israel as a permanent and sovereign reality and that Arab nations should do likewise by coming to the negotiating table to talk peace.”
“The American Jewish Committee will watch closely and welcomes concrete steps that the Holy See will take during the coming months to translate this report into reality,” Tanenbaum said.
Asked about the probable effect of such a Vatican step on its position in recent years as that of calling for adoption of an international statute for the status of Jerusalem, Tanenbaum declared that “once diplomatic relations would be set between the Vatican and Israel, then clearly a series of negotiations would probably begin on such issues as the respective approaches toward the status of Jerusalem, control of the Holy Places and any outstanding questions relating to Catholic communities in Israel.”
Tanenbaum has participated in meetings in recent years with the Vatican Secretariat of State, in cooperation with the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Contacts, which represents major Jewish organizations.