26 U.S. Lawmakers Urge Vatican to Formalize Relations with Israel

A group of 26 members of the House of Representatives — 13 Jewish and 13 Catholic — have sent a letter to Pope John Paul II urging the Vatican to establish formal diplomatic relations with Israel.

“As Catholic and Jewish members of the United States Congress, we strongly favor mutual diplomtic relations between the Vatican and Israel and urge the prompt establishment of such relations,” the Congressional members declared.

In a letter dated November 26, the Congressment said: ‘Because of Your Holiness’ unswerving commitment to religious toleration, we seek Your Holiness’ personal intervention to bring about-this monumental affirmation of the kinship between the world’s Catholics and Jews.”

Last October, a report by NBC News asserted that the Vatican “favors the diplomatic recognition of Israel.” Subsequently, the Pope reiterated the Vatican’s traditional position on the Middle East, which includes a call for the international status of Jerusalem, a position strongly opposed by Israel.

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