A new papal ambassador to Israel has been appointed by the Vatican to replace outgoing ambassador Archbishop Antonio Franco who served in his post for the past six years.
The new Papal Nuncio, as the ambassador is known, will be Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto. He will also serve as the Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine, which also has jurisdiction over Cyprus.
Apostolic Delegates are sent to states or territories with which the Vatican has no formal diplomatic ties, and serve as a liaison with the Catholic Church in that region as well as conducting informal diplomatic duties.
Lazzarotto, who was appointed on Saturday by Pope Benedict XVI, has been serving as the papal envoy to Australia since 2007, and will take up his post in Israel in the coming months.
Between 1994 and 2000, he served as Apostolic Nuncio to Iraq and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.