Israel and the Vatican have signed an accord formally recognizing the legal status of Roman Catholic Church institutions in Israel.
The accord, which requires the Knesset’s approval, would give the church judicial standing similar to foreign non-profit organizations and corporations. It would also enable the church to handle internal issues independently.
Foreign Minister David Levy, who initialed the accord for Israel, said the agreement would strengthen already good relations between Israel and the Holy See.
The papal representative in Israel, Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, said the agreement “marks a further important step in the process of normalizing relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel.”
Officials said the two sides had been working on the agreement since Israel and the Vatican forged diplomatic ties in 1994.
Rabbi David Rosen, head of the Anti-Defamation League in Israel and co-liaison to the Vatican, called the agreement “a significant achievement for the Catholic Church in Israel, and a significant achievement for Israel.”
Rosen added that the accord would help relations between the church and world Jewry as well.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.