Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, founder of the Temple Institute added his fears that parts of Mount Zion in Jerusalem may be relinquished to the Vatican as the planned visit of Pope Francis in May approaches. He referenced the 2008 agreement of the Israel government to relinquish control of the historic Russian Compound buildings in Jerusalem to Russian control. The offices of the Agriculture Ministry and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel vacated the premises in 2011.
Rabbi Ariel was among the paratroopers who helped liberate the Temple Mount in the Six Day War of 1967. He said for years there has been tentative plans to assign ownership of the Western Wall to the Jews, the Temple Mount to the Muslims and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Mount Zion to the Christians.