Israel’s Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoob Kara stressed that the recent UNESCO decision led to improved relations between Israel and the Vatican for such a resolution harms both Judaism and Christianity as the two religions cannot be disconnected from one another.
Deputy Minister Ayoob Kara meets with the Pope
Photo Credit: Israel's Ministery for Regional Cooperation
According to Israel’s Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoob Kara, the recent UNESCO decision led to an improvement in Vatican-Israeli relations. Kara recently returned to Israel after visiting with Pope Francis and Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin in an effort to improve diplomatic relations between the Jewish state and the Vatican as well as to recruit their support in UNESCO, which led to a Vatican pledge to remain neutral on the UNESCO issue. In the meeting, Pope Francis noted the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. Kara also succeeded to convince Cardinal Parolin that the UNESCO decision harms the position of the Catholic Church with the understanding that harming Judaism is like hurting Christianity for the two religions cannot be disconnected from one another.
In the background of all of this, a Vatican delegation will arrive in Israel in early November of this year for a meeting in Israel in order to end the divisions regarding the implementation of an agreement signed between the two countries in 1994 that regulates the status of the Vatican and the Christian holy sites in Israel. The Israeli side wishes to end these divisions by the end of this year.
Significant progress was also registered for Israel subsidizing Christian schools in Israel with $15 million as a gesture of goodwill and due to their great academic achievements. They also discussed promoting Coptic tourism in Israel, curbing religious extremism in the Middle East, and supporting peace in the region.
In addition, Israel’s Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation received the support of the Vatican and of American groups for the establishment of a fund to assist in the rescue of Christians and other minority groups from the Middle East. According to Kara,
“I am happy again to reveal warm relations and the Vatican’s sympathy for Israel and for me personally. I stressed to the Cardinal that Israel is the most important country for Christianity in the Middle East and where there is no Israeli sovereignty, the existence of Christianity and other religions is not possible due to religious extremism. We are in the midst of an important process between the two countries.”