An MK Says Netanyahu has contacted the Chief Sephardic Rabbi, asked for halakhic permission to make the move.
By Hezki Ezra, Gil Ronen
(Arutz Sheva) A Knesset Member said Thursday that Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzchak
Yosef told him that the Prime Minister's bureau contacted him and asked
to grant halakhic permission for Israel to hand over the Tomb of David
to the Vatican.
The startling news was revealed by the Knesset Member during a tour
of the Tomb of Daid by four MKs – Yoni Chetboun of the Jewish Home, who
initiated the tour, Moshe Feiglin (Likud-Beytenu), Nissim Ze'ev (Shas),
and Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism – UTJ).
The MKs were unanimous in declaring that they intend to do everything
within their power to forestall any attempt to hand over the Tomb to
the Vatican. There are also reports that not just the Tomb, but the
entire Mount Zion compound is up for transfer. The MKs made clear that
the zone is under Israeli sovereignty and will remain so.
There have been reports, recently, of a secret negotiation channel
between the Vatican and the Israeli government, regarding the Tomb – and
especially its second floor, which the Vatican calls the “Room of the
Last Supper” – and the Mount Zion compound.
Officially, this report was denied by the government, with Deputy
Minister Ze'ev Elkin taking to the Knesset podium to state that it was
However, the government has decided to place the exclusive authority
regarding the holy sites in the hands of the prime minister – fueling
speculation that a secret deal is indeed in the works.
The Vatican's attempts to gain a sovereign foothold in the Mount of
Olives have been going on for year, but thus far unsuccessfully.
The visit to Israel by Pope Francis is less than a month away. This
is a factor in the timing of the MKs' tour of the compound. A
representative of the Religions Ministry's Department of Holy Sites was
The MKs promised to pass a law making the Tomb of David an official holy site.
"For many years, the Vatican has been investing large sums in
purchasing assets in Jerusalem, with the purpose of blurring the city's
Jewish character,” said Chetboun. “This trend must be blocked, and the
Basic Law on Jerusalem, which forbids handing over sovereignty on parts
of the city to foreign entities, must be enforced. Today's tour is only
the beginning of the struggle, and we will bring more MKs here. The Tomb
of David is a cornerstone of the city's Jewish history, we must
MK Feiglin said after the tour, “The attempts to transfer sovereignty
over the Tomb of David to the Vatican are a direct continuation of the
transfer of sovereignty in the Temple Mount to the Jordanians. The
government of Israel is buying a false calm at the price of forfeiting
our most sacred sites, under cover of darkness and against the law.”