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Holy See and Israel report progress in discussions on Church tax status

.- On Wednesday the Holy See’s Bilateral Working Commission for negotiations with Israel met at the Vatican to continue discussions on the tax status of the Church in the Holy Land.

Following the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel in December 1993, full diplomatic relations between the two countries were established, but an agreement about the tax-exempt status of churches, hospitals and other Catholic institutions in Israel has thus far eluded the commission.

According to a communiqué released yesterday afternoon, the Holy See delegation was led by Msgr. Pietro Parolin, under-secretary for Relations with States, and the Israeli delegation by Aaron Abramovich, director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The commission reports that it achieved “significant progress towards the shared goal, both substantially and in terms of putting in place procedures to improve desired effectiveness and on-going negotiations." In May 2007 the joint committee also reported "important progress."

The bilateral commission will convene again in December.

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