Christians shutter famous Jerusalem church to protest taxes

Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem Photo: israeltourism / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 via MGN.
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JERUSALEM (AP) - The leaders of the major Christian sects in Jerusalem say they are closing the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for several hours to protest an Israeli plan to tax their properties.

The churches responsible for the site issued a joint statement on Sunday bemoaning a "systematic campaign of abuse" against them, comparing it to anti-Jewish laws issued in Nazi Germany.

The churches are angry about the Jerusalem municipality's plans to tax their various assets around the city and a potential parliament bill to expropriate land sold by the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.

The Jerusalem municipality says it continues to care for Christians needs and their full freedom of worship but "hotels, halls and businesses cannot be exempt from municipal taxes simply because they are owned by the churches."

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