Christian leaders have closed the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, said to be built on the site of Jesus's crucifixion and burial, in a protest at Israeli tax policy which they say unfairly targets Christians.
The churches are also protesting Al-Quds municipality's new policy on municipal tax payments for church property.More news: 'Keeper concedes goal after stopping to take mid-game water break
The Christian leaders responsible for the site issued a joint statement bemoaning what they called a "systematic campaign of abuse" against them, comparing it to anti-Jewish laws issued in Nazi Germany.
"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. It said the church, just like other sacred sites in the city, is exempt from municipal property taxes and that will not change. These actions breach existing agreements and worldwide obligations which guarantee the rights and the privileges of the Churches, in what seems as an attempt to weaken the Christian presence in Jerusalem.More news: Premier League table: Liverpool displace Manchester United from second position
"As a measure of protest, we made a decision to take this unprecedented step of closure of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher", the Christian leaders said in a joint statement.
Later today, 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.More news: Pepperell holds off charging Fisher in Qatar