Apostolic Nuncio to Israel

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Entrance to the Apostolic Nunciature in the Old City of Jaffa, Tel-Aviv

The Apostolic Nuncio to Israel is the holder of a diplomatic position within the Vatican, who acts as nuncio (Ambassador) of the Holy See to the State of Israel. The office's work takes place in the broader backdrop of Holy See–Israel relations that have evolved considerably over the past several decades.


In 1948, the Vatican created the office of Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine, which had jurisdiction in Palestine, Transjordania, and Cyprus. In 1973 the Nunciature of Cyprus was erected.

Diplomatic relations were established in 1994 between the Holy See and State of Israel following the signing of the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel on 30 December 1993. Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, who had been Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine since 1990, was appointed the first Apostolic Nuncio to Israel. The Nunciature is located in Tel Aviv.

So far, all Nuncios of Israel were also simultaneously appointed Nuncios to Cyprus and Apostolic Delegates to Jerusalem and Palestine (now responsible for the relationship with the local church in the Palestinian territories).

Apostolic Delegates to Jerusalem and Palestine[edit]


  • Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo - 19 January 1994 – 7 March 1998
  • Pietro Sambi - 6 June 1998 – 17 December 2005. As nuncio to Israel, Sambi criticized the building of the wall between Israel and the Palestinian territories as "a shame to humanity." In 2003, he criticized the anti-Semitism sponsored by some Palestinian authorities. He was instrumental in Italy ceasing to fund anti-Semitic Palestinian schoolbooks.[1]
  • Antonio Franco - 21 January 2006 – 18 August 2012[2]
  • Giuseppe Lazzarotto - 18 August 2012 – 13 September 2017
  • Leopoldo Girelli - 13 September 2017 – present[3]

See also[edit]