Mt. Zion is in Danger

Correspondence Between The London Times and Ellen Horowitz of the Committee to Save Mt. Zion regarding the Upper Room (Cenacle)

The below letter demonstrates that back in 2005 there was
a) a swap deal on the agenda
b) a Draft Agreement between the State of Israel and the Vatican
c) a report that originated from within the Vatican and that is was disseminated via legitimate media sources.
AND that the Vatican has been, is, and will continue to be very intent on getting the room in the building which houses the Diaspora Yeshiva and the traditional Tomb of King David.

(other documents can be found by refering to the JI Blog on this issue
(Archives are provided as a courtesy of the Committee to Save Mt. Zion)

From: "Chappell, David"
To: "Ellen Horowitz"
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 15:24:21 -0000
Subject: The Times/Last Supper

Dear Ellen Horowitz:

The Editor has passed me your e-mail of November 2 regarding your concerns about an article in The Times on October 13 - we are sorry it has caused you to write and would offer the following observations.

As a former Jerusalem Correspondent, Richard Owen is sorry to learn that his piece on the Vatican hoping to regain control of the Room of the Last Supper caused distress to "many Jewish people both in Israel and the Diaspora". But with respect we don't see why it should have. The article merely identified - correctly - one of the outstanding issues between Israel and the Vatican on the eve of President Katzav's state visit.

You suggest that the office of the President of Israel says there is "absolutely no base to the story". Perhaps you were not given a full account of what was actually said. The headline was "Vatican seeks deal to claim site of the Last Supper", and the first sentence was "The Vatican is hoping to regain control of the Room of the Last Supper in Jerusalem, one of the most sacred sites in Christianity".

Not only is this true, it has been true for some time. The question of whether the Franciscans, who are the guardians of Christian sites in the Holy Land, might regain control of the Room of the Last Supper has been on the Vatican-Israel agenda for years. It came up when John Paul II visited the Holy Land in 2000. Mr Owen was on the papal plane, and was in the papal entourage when he toured the holy sites.There was even some hope on the Vatican side - not fulfilled at the time - that a deal on the Room of the Last Supper could be clinched on that trip.

Our sources for the story were in the Vatican. In addition Orazio Petrosillo, the experienced Vatican correspondent of Il Messaggero, the Rome daily, published a piece on October 12 under the headline "Il Cenacolo Torna ai Frati", or "The Room of the Last Supper to Return to the Friars" (meaning the Franciscans). While Signor Petrosillo agreed the headline in his paper was too hard he did confirm that the question of the Room of the Last Supper is in a draft agreement.

This does not mean that it has been agreed, only that it has been discussed as one of the outstanding issues between the Vatican and Israel on Christian property rights in the Holy Land. Which is precisely what The Times story said.

We hope this clarifies matters for you. If we had said that President Katzav was to hand over the Room of the Last Supper when he meets the Pope next week, that would have been a different matter. But we did not , only that the Vatican hoped to get it back. Which is unquestionably the case.

Thank you for taking the trouble to write.

David Chappell
Deputy Managing Editor
The Times

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