MembersChurch of the Holy Sepulcher is Closed

Anyone who tried to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at the end of February was faced with locked doors and bitter disappointment.

By Aviel Schneider |
Photo: Hadas Parush/Flash90

The reason for the closure of the most famous church in Israel was a change in the tax regulations for church properties.

The City of Jerusalem halted certain tax concessions for commercial establishments owned by the Church. This was a severe upset for the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian proprietors of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In their joint statement, the heads of these churches sank to a new low in trying to play on local sensitivities: “This reminds us of similar laws against Jews during the darkest period in European history.”

Mayor Nir Barkat reacted on Twitter that it was illogical to expect that commercial properties belonging to the Church, which include hotels and shops, should be excluded from tax obligations. “I want to say very clearly,” he stressed, “that we are not talking here about places of worship, which according to the law will of course remain free of...

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