Amid the closure of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to suspend the plan and establish a task force team to find a solution.

Protestors outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Protestors outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

On Tuesday, Jerusalem suspended the tax plan on churches that led to the shutdown of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as a measure of protest. The protest was also against the Knesset bill that seeks to allow the state to seize properties sold by churches since 2010 and compensate the owners.

Israel Foreign Ministry Spokesperson tweeted, “PM Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Barkat agreed to establish a team led by Min. Hanegbi with the participation of all relevant parties, to formulate a solution for the issue of municipal taxes on church-owned properties that aren’t houses of worship. All actions are suspended.”

The committee will reportedly negotiate with representatives from churches in Jerusalem to try and resolve the dispute over taxing church-owned commercial establishments. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat tweeted earlier this week, “In Jerusalem, all are equal under the law – Christians, Muslims, and Jews alike. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre – as is the case for all of Jerusalem’s churches, synagogues, and mosques – is exempt from municipal taxes. There is absolutely no change in this regard.”

The closing of the Church of the Holy received international recognition. As previously reported by JOL, Jordanian King Abdullah II defended the closure of the Church and stated that Israel was “violating international law” by threatening to tax churches.