Saturday, December 07, 2013

Israel And The Vatican: Give But No Take

מוצש"ק פר' ויגש תשע"ד

This was going around Facebook. Like many, I thought it was cute, differences between the nine-branched Hanukkah menorah and the seven-branched Beth HaMiqdash (Temple) Menorah aside.

Prime Minister Netanyahu presents Pope Francis with a Hanukkah menorah at their meeting, December, 2013
(Tip: Shuqi; Photo Credit: Israel Unseen)

The added sarcastic, yet excellent, caption refers to the belief that the Vatican has many of our Temple vessels hidden away someplace, having "acquired" them from the preceding empires and powers that be.

L: The Arch Of Titus; R: Relief on the Arch depicting the carrying off
captured booty from Israel, including the Menorah.
Jerusalem Rabbi Yonatan Shtencel has at least been making an effort to raise awareness about the issue of the missing Temple vessels, asking the ambassador from the Vatican to Israel, to hand a letter to the Pope, requesting their return. The Ambassador responded that the Vatican does not have them, and, in my humble opinion, appeared to scold Rabbi Shtencel for his suspicion.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that requesting the return of the Temple vessels will be in the forefront of Prime Minister Netanyahu's mind, during this meeting.
Raw Story: Netanyahu heads to Rome for first talks with Pope FrancisAgence France-Presse, December 1, 2013
...When the two meet on Monday, they are likely to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue and the ongoing peace talks with the Palestinians
And they are also expected to discuss the pope’s planned visit to the Holy Land early next year. 
Pope Francis has already been invited to visit the Christian holy sites by Israeli President Shimon Peres in April, and by Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, who met him on October 17.
Israeli sources say the visit could take place before Peres ends his term as president in July. Although no date has been made official, sources on both sides say it is likely to take place on May 25-26. (...only a few days before Jerusalem Unification Day celebrations -- ironic)
The papal visit will reportedly begin in Jordan, a senior Vatican official said on Saturday, according to Jordanian state news agency Petra. 
“The pope’s visit to the Holy Land will begin in Jordan,” Vatican foreign affairs official Dominique Mamberti said in Amman after meeting Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh. 
Israel and the Vatican first established full diplomatic relations in 1993, but have been engaged in years of thorny diplomatic negotiations over property rights and tax exemptions for the Catholic Church, which have yet to be fully resolved. 
The Holy See wants full recognition of the legal and patrimonial rights of Catholic communities in Israel and formal confirmation of tax exemptions enjoyed by the Church since the Jewish state’s emergence in 1948 and which the UN has asked Israel to honour. 
One of the most delicate questions involves access by Catholic worshipers to a site on Mount Zion in Jerusalem called the Cenacle, where Christians believe Jesus (יש"ו) held the Last Supper the night before he was crucified. 
In June, the sides agreed to step up negotiations over the outstanding issues.
Israeli President Shimon Peres beat Netanyahu to the Vatican, making it there a good seven months ago, soon after Francis's ascension.

President Peres receives a gift from Pope Francis
(avodah zarah blacked out) 
Vatican, April, 2013

Peres leaves office (for the time being) next summer. He has already been suspected of collusion with the Vatican in its chicanery. Is he the one forcing Netanyahu's hand to give into them even more, or is it someone else.

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