It would appear that when one deals with the non-Jewish community, granting tax breaks and privileges does not lead to shouts of “parasites” and other maligning terms, those degrading terms too often used in dealings with the chareidi tzibur in Eretz Yisrael.
In Israel’s latest move to remain in the Vatican’s good graces, Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Tuesday, 18 Shevat 5773 initialed an agreement with the Vatican, granting the Roman Catholic Church tax free status on all its properties throughout Israel.
The agreement was initialed on Tuesday, pending the official signing ceremony that will include senior Israeli and Vatican officials. Ayalon met in Jerusalem with Monsignor Ettore Balestrero, listed by the Vatican as “Under-Secretary of the Holy See for the Relations with States”.
It should be pointed out that ahead of the agreement, the Church does not pay taxes in Israel, but with the new agreement, the tax exemption will be extended to religious institutions operated by the Vatican in Israel, placing them in the same category as shuls and mosques. Church run businesses however will not enjoy a tax exemption.
The agreement also grants special VIP status if you will to the Church, which has been pressing for ownership of the Last Supper Room. Israel is unwilling to sign over ownership to the Vatican, and the latter will have to make do with the special status being granted while ownership remains in Israel’s hands.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)