A breakthrough has been made in talks between Israel
and the Vatican ahead of a historic agreement on economic and financial issues.
After 18 years of tough negotiations, the Catholic Church agreed to waive its demand to receive sovereignty over the Cenacle (the location of the "Last Supper") on Jerusalem's Mount Zion. In return, Israel agreed to consider giving the Church access to the place and even consider a leasing option.
It was also agreed that the Vatican would start paying a reduced property tax for its assets in Israel. Over the years, Israel suffered losses of tens of millions of shekels due to the Vatican's failure to pay property tax.
The understandings were reached in a meeting held last weekend between Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and the Vatican's deputy foreign minister.
The sides reported that the two officials had reached an agreement as two further steps which will be taken in order to finalize the negotiations over the deal.