Last Update 21:29
Thursday, 14 November 2019

Church leaders shut Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre in land, tax protest

Reuters , Sunday 25 Feb 2018
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
File Photo: Christian worshippers surround the Edicule as they take part in a Sunday Easter mass procession in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City April 16, 2017 (Reuters)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 2662
Share/Bookmark
Views: 2662

Church leaders in Jerusalem shut the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday in protest at a new Israeli tax policy and a proposed land expropriation law which they called a "systematic and unprecedented attack against Christians in the Holy Land".

Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian church leaders said the holy site, a popular stop for pilgrims and where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried, would remain closed until further notice.

Later on Sunday, an Israeli cabinet committee is due to consider a bill that would allow the state to expropriate land in Jerusalem sold by churches to private real estate firms in recent years.

The stated aim of the bill is to protect homeowners against the possibility that private companies will not extend their leases. The churches, major landowners in the city, say such a law would make it harder for them to find buyers for their land.

"This abhorrent bill ... if approved, would make the expropriation of the lands of churches possible," said the statement by Theophilos III, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Francesco Patton, the Custos of the Holy Land, and Nourhan Manougian, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem.

In addition, Israel's Jerusalem municipality has cancelled a tax exemption granted to church-owned commercial properties in the city and has begun to demand back payments from the churches.

"This reminds us all of laws of a similar nature which were enacted against the Jews during dark periods in Europe," the church leaders said.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said on Twitter it was illogical to expect that church-owned commercial property, including hotels and retail businesses, would continue to enjoy tax-exempt status.

"Let me make it clear: we are not talking about houses of worship, who will still be exempt from property tax, according to law," he wrote.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.