Israel, Vatican sign pact on church property rights

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The papal representative in Israel, Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, said the agreement "marks a further important step in the process of normalizing relations between the Holy See and the state of Israel."

Officials said the two sides had been working on the agreement since Israel and the Vatican forged diplomatic ties in 1994.

Rabbi David Rosen, head of the Anti-Defamation League in Israel and co-liaison to the Vatican, called the agreement "a significant achievement for the Catholic Church in Israel, and a significant achievement for Israel."

Rosen added that the accord would help relations between the church and world Jewry as well.