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October 02, 1992 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-10-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Make A Clear Choice
For Better Vision.

Vatican Refuses
Israeli Recognition

CARL ALPERT

Special to The Jewish News

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hat is the mystery
behind the Vatican's
refusal to recognize
the State of Israel? Why is it
that despite repeated condem-
nations of anti-Semitism by
successive popes, changes in
church doctrine regarding
Jewish guilt for the killing of
Jesus, willingness to engage
in dialogues with Jews and
Jewish groups looking toward
more friendly relations bet-
ween Rome and the Jewish
people — why, despite all
these, the subject of Israel
always seems to come up
against some hidden
obstacle?
It began as far back as 1904
when Pius X gave a blunt rep-
ly to Theodor Herzl in
response to the latter's re-
quest for help to the Zionist
movement: "We cannot favor
this movement. We cannot
prevent Jews from going to
Jerusalem, but neither can
we encourage them along this
path."
Subsequent popes may not
have been so outspoken, but
neither have they lifted a
finger to assist the Jews in
returning to their ancestral
homeland. It should be noted
that the more recent popes,
like Paul VI and John XXIII
never even mentioned the
name of Israel. John Paul II
was the first to do so in a
pastoral letter of 1984 when
he spoke of the rights of its
citizens to live in security, but
quickly followed this up with
a statement on the legitimate
rights of the Palestinians.
When Paul visited "the Ho-
ly Land" in 1964 he never us-
ed the word Israel, and even
his meeting with represen-
tatives of the Jewish state
took place not in Jerusalem,
but at Megiddo.
The principle runs through
all echelons of the Vatican.
Very recently it was revealed
that in correspondence regar-
ding tourist guides here, a
senior Vatican official refer-
red to this country as
Palestine. They find it dif-
ficult to digest the existence
of a free and independent
Jewish state.
The records abound with
papal statements on opposi-
tion to racism, on humanity,
about all the children of
Abraham and about the
theological relations between
the church and the people
from whom Christ sprang;
but the moment the subject
touches upon political rela-

tions, we come up against a
stone wall.
With the exception of
hostile Moslem states, almost
the whole world has recogniz-
ed the existence of Israel and
its right to exist. The list is
now joined also by Russia and
China, but still the Vatican
remains aloof. There must be
a clue somewhere.
Sergio Minerbi, an Israeli
authority on the Vatican, of-
fers a hint when he says that
"the church still considers
itself the true Israel."
In 1950, when it was realiz-

ed that the 1949 U.N. resolu-
tion calling fof international-

ization of 100 square miles
around Jerusalem was
possible to carry , out,_ many
countries sought to re-- 1 -
with a proposal t .
.Av.
supervision be
3ciaimed
over the holy W: :es instead.
It was Vatican 'Pressure on

Subsequent popes
may not have been
so outspoken, but
neither have they
lifted a fingee to
assist the Jews.

Catholic states which
prevented the change,
perhaps to ensure that the
principle of the 100 square
miles could be kept intact and
revived at some future time to
establish in Jerusalem a Mid-
dle Eastern extension of the
Vatican, as one observer sage-
ly noted at the time.

A dip into history may gi. ,;
us the answer.
During World War I, it wa
known that both Germa;AN•
and Britain sought to wc,0
Jewish support for
respective sides, and the
Kaiser even proposed a state-
ment of support not unlike
the Balfour Declaration
which was ultimately issued
by Great Britain. Aware that
the Zionists preferred
England, the Kaiser turne,t
his back on them. While we
do not have access to the
original records (that we leav
to the historians), the public
press reported in 1915 that
the German Humanity
League announced that the
Kaiser had categorically pro-
mised the Pope that his tem-
poral power would be restored
and that the papal state
would be created in Palestine.
This was to consist of
"Jerusalem and the Holy
Places, with a territorial area

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