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Church leaders shut Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre in land tax protest
Topic Started: February 25, 2018, 8:15 am (704 Views)
M. Hawbaker
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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - 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.

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

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-churches/church-leaders-shut-jerusalems-church-of-the-holy-sepulchre-in-land-tax-protest-idUSKCN1G90C0
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Blackjack

Ultimately, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre will lose on these issues. It no longer has in interest in land sold to private entities. Taxes on commercial properties owned by the church are not unreasonable.

Maria and my DS are going to Israel on March 4. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was on the itinerary but that is "subject to change." Closing the church really puts no pressure on Israelis. It only affects tourists but the tourists can, and will, take their money somewhere else.
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M. Hawbaker
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Blackjack
February 26, 2018, 5:51 am
It no longer has in interest in land sold to private entities. Taxes on commercial properties owned by the church are not unreasonable.

That is the problem. As you say, the church no longer has interest in this land; but it is the church, not the businesses that currently own the land, that are now being taxed with the threat of church assets being seized.

The equivalent here in the US would be if a church that moved to a new building sold off a former church building that it no longer used to a secular business and then the government tried to collect back taxes from the church for all the years that the former facility had been legally tax exempt while it was still a church building.
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Authorities in Jerusalem already seized hundreds of thousands of dollars from the largest churches in the city, including the Greek Orthodox, the Catholics, the Anglicans, and the Armenian Orthodox Church. More seizures are on the way.

According to Haaretz, the Anglican Church in Jerusalem confirmed its bank accounts had been frozen by the city, which claimed to freeze the accounts of other major churches as well.

“All of our assets are frozen,” a representative of the Greek Orthodox patriarchate told the Times. “We can’t pay for food, salaries, administration, nothing.”

http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/february/jerusalem-church-of-holy-sepulchre-closed-taxes-arnona.html

According to some reports, this whole business seems to be aimed mainly at punishing the church for selling land in "Palestinian" territory to land developers who are building Israeli housing settlements, while giving certain Israeli officials of questionable character a quick source of income to fix problems largely brought about by their own mismanagement of public funds.
Edited by M. Hawbaker, February 26, 2018, 9:58 am.
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Blackjack

Now it makes more sense.
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M. Hawbaker
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UPDATE: Israel suspends actions that provoked closure of Christian holy site

Israel on Tuesday suspended tax measures and other actions that led to the rare closure of the church built at what is seen as the holiest site in Christianity.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the suspension in a statement.

Christian leaders who have kept Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre closed since Sunday over the measures have yet to respond to the decision.

https://www.dailysabah.com/mideast/2018/02/27/israel-suspends-actions-that-provoked-closure-of-christian-holy-site-and-widespread-criticism
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cricket55
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I sure hope the Holy Sepulchre dose not close, it is awesome to see the inside of it.
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