Jerusalem: Churches

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 15th March 2018.

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Photo of The Bishop of Southwark The Bishop of Southwark Bishop

To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the decision by the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem on 25 February to close the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, what representations, if any, they have made to the government of Israel concerning the need to resolve the dispute between the Heads of Churches and the Municipality of Jerusalem in a manner that respects the Status Quo of Jerusalem and the rights of Christian communities.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State

Our Embassy in Tel Aviv and Consulate General in Jerusalem are closely following developments, and have sought clarifications from the relevant Israeli authorities. We welcome the statement from the Israeli Government making clear its commitment to freedom of religion, its announcement of the suspension of tax collection actions, and the establishment of a team to formulate a solution on the issue of municipal taxes. We hope that this team will have a constructive and fruitful dialogue with the Heads of the Churches. We expect all Church bank accounts to be unfrozen by the Municipality as part of this process. We encourage the parties to continue to uphold the status quo in Jerusalem.

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