JERUSALEM — The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem has reopened after Israeli officials suspended a plan to impose taxes on church properties in the holy city.
The famed church was opened early Wednesday after it was closed for three days to protest the Israeli tax plan.
The Jerusalem municipality had stressed its decision affected only commercial properties, such as hotels, restaurants and offices, and not houses of worship. It insisted other cities followed similar practices worldwide.
But it enraged religious leaders, who shuttered one of Christianity’s most important holy sites ahead of the busy Easter season. The church is revered as the site where Jesus was crucified and resurrected.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said a professional team was being established to negotiate with church officials to “formulate a solution.”
On Tuesday, the heads of Churches in charge of the Holy Sepulcher and the Status Quo governing the various Christian Holy Sites in Jerusalem – the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the Custody of the Holy Land and the Armenian Patriarchate – released a statement giving thanks for Netanyahu’s statement and offering “gratitude to all those who have worked tirelessly to uphold the Christian presence in Jerusalem and to defend the Status Quo.”
“After the constructive intervention of the Prime Minister, The Churches look forward to engage with Minister [for Regional Cooperation Tzachi] Hanegbi, and with all those who love Jerusalem to ensure that Our Holy City, where our Christian presence continues to face challenges, remains a place where the three Monotheistic faiths may live and thrive together,” the statement read.
Crux staff contributed to this report.