Jewish prayers at the traditional Tomb of King David and Torah learning at the Diaspora Yeshiva will now be intermingled with, and likely disrupted by, the sounds of Gregorian chants and Catholic Mass. In an official press release, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land has announced that it has gained administrative control of the Cenacle shrine or Upper Room on Mt. Zion, which is located above the traditional Tomb of King David, and will be opening up the site for Catholic worship.
Jewishisrael has been issuing alerts and reporting on the possibility of such a disturbing development since we launched this website in 2009. Members of our staff were actively protesting against the Vatican gaining control of the site as far back as 2005. Most recently, in January and April of this year, we gave extensive coverage to this developing story.
Despite the negotiated agreement between Israel and the Vatican, it is not likely the end of this episode. While the Vatican gains "control" of the site, Israel retains official "ownership", which is something the spokesperson for the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land finds "disappointing".