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