Heads of churches urge overturn of Israeli bill

PNN/ Jerusalem/

The heads of three Jerusalem churches sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in protest over a bill allowing Israeli confiscation of Church lands sold to private investors.

In their letter to Netanyahu, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III, Jerusalem Orthodox Patriarch Norhan Manojian and Catholic Father Francesco Patton protested against the bill which allows confiscation of lands sold by the churches to the private sector.

The heads of the churches demand that Netanyahu stop the bill, which the Israeli government plans to refer to the ministerial committee for legislation, saying they consider the bill  an unprecedented attack on Christians in the Holy Land” and a violation of fundamental rights.

This comes after months of a major crisis between the churches and the Israeli government, which broke out last February because of the law on taxation of churches in Jerusalem. Netanyahu was then forced to freeze all measures under this law after the heads of churches in Jerusalem closed the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in protest against the law.