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East Jerusalem: Church of Holy Sepulcher closed in protest against Israeli land policies02:42

East Jerusalem: Church of Holy Sepulcher closed in protest against Israeli land policies

Disputed Territory, Jerusalem
February 25, 2018 at 15:06 GMT -00:00 · Published

The heads of Jerusalem's Christian churches decided on Sunday to close the Church of the Holy Sepulcher until further notice, in a protest against Israeli government legislation that would allow the state to seize sold Church property.

The decision was announced on Sunday by the churches that share management of the property - Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic.

"Together with all heads of churches in the Holy Land we stand united, firm and resolute in protecting our rights and our properties," Patriarch of Jerusalem Teophilos III said to a crowd in front of the closed Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The announcement was made as the Knesset's Ministerial Committee for Legislation was ready to discuss a bill that would permit the state to appropriate land in Jerusalem sold by the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches since 2010.

After the closing of the Holy Sepulcher church, the ministerial panel reportedly decided to delay the debate on the bill.

Church leaders accused the bill of being discriminatory, saying that Israel aims to seize church assets, properties and Bank accounts. The churches also denounced Jerusalem municipality's new policy on municipal tax payments for church properties.

East Jerusalem: Church of Holy Sepulcher closed in protest against Israeli land policies02:42
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Description

The heads of Jerusalem's Christian churches decided on Sunday to close the Church of the Holy Sepulcher until further notice, in a protest against Israeli government legislation that would allow the state to seize sold Church property.

The decision was announced on Sunday by the churches that share management of the property - Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic.

"Together with all heads of churches in the Holy Land we stand united, firm and resolute in protecting our rights and our properties," Patriarch of Jerusalem Teophilos III said to a crowd in front of the closed Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The announcement was made as the Knesset's Ministerial Committee for Legislation was ready to discuss a bill that would permit the state to appropriate land in Jerusalem sold by the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches since 2010.

After the closing of the Holy Sepulcher church, the ministerial panel reportedly decided to delay the debate on the bill.

Church leaders accused the bill of being discriminatory, saying that Israel aims to seize church assets, properties and Bank accounts. The churches also denounced Jerusalem municipality's new policy on municipal tax payments for church properties.

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