HomeMiddle East - AfricaChurches in Holy Land denounce ‘coordinated attack’ against Christians by Israeli authorities

Churches in Holy Land denounce ‘coordinated attack’ against Christians by Israeli authorities

However, the leaders pointed out that “for centuries” church properties have had exemptions from municipal taxes according to the established status quo and that the churches have used this exemption to invest in services that benefit the state such as “schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and facilities for the disadvantaged.”

The leaders pointed out that the municipal actions are “tendentious” and contrary to the historical position of the churches and their relationship with the government, “violating the existing agreements and international commitments that ensure the rights of the churches.”

“It is an outrage that, specifically during such sensitive and complicated times when patience, compassion, unity in prayer, and hope should prevail, municipalities are opening cases against churches in courts and making threats. This constitutes contempt of our customs and that which is dear to us, while trampling the mutual respect that existed between us until this time,” the letter stated.

In an interview with the Associated Press, the Jerusalem Municipality stated that church authorities have not submitted the necessary applications for tax exemption in recent years.

They also said that, currently, “a dialogue is underway to collect debts” in connection with “commercial properties.”

The conflict over municipal taxes on church properties in Jerusalem dates back several years.

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