Christian leaders are taking the rare step of closing the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, built at what is said to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, in protest at Israeli tax policies which they say unfairly target the Christian community.
Leaders of the Catholic, Greek, and Armenian denominations said they were indefinitely closing the church, home to Christianity’s holiest sites, because of a “systematic campaign” by Israeli authorities.
The move is the first time the church has been closed since 1990, when it was shut in protest at Israeli settlers taking over a Christian building, and it was not clear when its 1,000-year-old doors will open again.
“This reminds of us all of laws of a similar nature which were enacted against the Jews during dark periods in Europe,” the churches said.
The Christian denominations said they were protesting against the decision by Jerusalem city government to start levying taxes on church properties and a proposed bill in the Israeli parliament that would make it harder for them to sell property.