Christian leaders in Jerusalem protest plan to tax church properties
The heads and patriarchs of Christian churches in Jerusalem strongly denounced the city of Jerusalem’s plan to force churches to pay property taxes.
The proposal to levy taxes on some properties would run contrary to unofficial historical tax-exempt status the churches have enjoyed for centuries, the leaders said in a 15th February statement.
“The civil authorities have always recognised and respected the great contribution of the Christian churches, which invest billions in building schools, hospitals, and homes, many for the elderly and disadvantaged, in the Holy Land,” the statement said.
The leaders called on city officials to retract their intention and to “ensure that the status quo, which was sanctioned by the sacred history, is maintained, and the character of the Holy City of Jerusalem is not violated.”
“We declare that such a measure both undermines the sacred character of Jerusalem, and jeopardises the Church’s ability to conduct its ministry in this land on behalf of its communities and the world-wide Church,” they said. “We stand firm and united in our position to defend our presence and properties.”
Picture: A monk walks outside Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher in 2013. (CNS photo/Baz Ratner, Reuters).Tags: church properties, Jerusalem, protest, tax