Occupied Jerusalem’s mayor yesterday suspended a plan to impose taxes on properties owned by Christian churches, backing away from a move that had enraged religious leaders and led to the closure of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said a professional team was being established to negotiate with church officials to “formulate a solution”.
There was no immediate reaction from church leaders, and it was unclear whether the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and leaders of other Christian denominations closed the famed church on Sunday
to protest an order by the occupied city’s municipality to begin taxing their properties. The church is revered as the site where Jesus was crucified and resurrected, and the decision closed one of the city’s most visited holy sites just ahead of the busy Easter season.
The churches accused the mayor of acting in bad faith and undermining a longstanding status quo.