Tuesday, November 08, 2005

 

Mt. Zion Press Release

King David’s Tomb to be Handed to Vatican

Contact: Michael Resnick, Diaspora Yeshiva (02)671-6841, email: torahnet613@yahoo.com
November 7, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Diaspora Yeshiva Toras Yisrael, located on Mt.Zion in Jerusalem, is contesting Israel’s plan to transfer parts of the Tomb of King David to theVatican on November 14th. King David’s Tomb is located on Mt. Zion and is considered to be one of the holiest sites in Judaism.

On November 1st, the Dean of theYeshiva, Dr. Rabbi Modechai Goldstein was handed adraft copy of a portion of the new agreement between the State of Israel and the Vatican.

Israel plans to the transfer of much of the Crusader Era Complex which houses the Last Supper Room located directly over King David’s Tomb to the Church. This new agreement changes the status quo of holy sites in Israel contrary to the agreement of 1948, and which was reaffirmed in 1993 in the Fundamental Agreement Between the Holy See and the State of Israel.

According to Rabbi Herman, Senior Director of the Diaspora Yeshiva, the Catholic Church wants more than to acquire the Last Supper room from the State of Israel. While the Vatican has been preparing to take custody of the Last Supper Room, the Order ofFranciscan Friars in Jerusalem, which administers the Custody of the Holy Land, plans to take control of the public walkways throughout the Crusader Era Complex.

It is rumored that Mr. David Bartholdy of Haifa, has been fronted bribe-money by a Friar Pierre Patista, a top Franciscan official in Jerusalem, to make his way through the Israeli bureaucracy. So far, he has succeeded.

In a November 2 radio interview on Israel National News, Rabbi Herman said, “We know about a lot of envelopes of 10,000 dollars more or less being passed around amongst people. I know two people who’ve come to us and have told us [that] one was offered 300,000dollars, one more than that, to help try and persuade the Yeshiva to vacate their properties in the King David’s Tomb area so that the Church can totally takeover.”

Bartholdy is working with Keresz-Groag, anarchitectural firm that specializes in revitalizing historic urban sites, and the Israel Lands Authority.

The Ministry of Tourism has set its sites on Mount Zion for its lucrative tourist income.Upon recommendation from the Municipality of Jerusalem and the Lands Authority, Bartholdy has been negotiating to privately purchase the public pathways within Crusader Era Complex.

Normally, the LandsAuthority requires open bidding on purchases of public sites. But in this case, a private citizen is being allowed to unilaterally purchase all access routes to one of Judaism’s holiest sites.

There has been no bidding.

There has been no Knesset approval.

The usual legal requirements are being waived because Bartholdy has influenced a recommendation from the ruling authorities.

Along with the public pathways, Bartholdy has also purchased a Muslim cemetery adjacent to the Complex.

The Muslim cemetery will be desecrated to make an exclusive entrance to the Last Supper Room. Bartholdy plans to close off the Complex’s public areas and charge a proposed $10.00 per person to visit during peak hours.

As part of the plan, the Complex will become a Catholic tourist site.

Non-Catholics will berequired to obtain prior written permission from theCustody of the Holy Land to use buildings within the Complex. Per ! Article 4, Sec. 1 of the Fundamental Agreement of 1993, the State of Israel and the Holy See mutually agree not to change the Status quo of Christian sites. Nevertheless, under the new agreement, the Church will begin holding Catholic Mass in the Last Supper Room from 6:00am-8:00am daily.

Currently, the Diaspora Yeshiva oversees the entire Complex and allows open access to anyone inspired tovisit this holy site, which is also a synagogue. Thousands of people from all religions visit the Tomb monthly, which is kept open all night during certain holidays and for other special religious occasions.

The new plan proposes that Jews will only be allowed free access to the Tomb from 7:00-9:00 in the morning. Under the auspices of the Vatican, the Complex will beclosed at 9:00 p.m.

Last week the Yeshiva retained Dr. S. Berkowitz of Jerusalem as legal counsel, and is pursuing legal action. The Yeshiva has also appealed to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, President Moshe Katsav, Tourist Minister Avraham Hirchson, and Efrat Strauss of the Lands Authority, to stop the proposed agreement.

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