After more than a decade of negotiations, Israel and the Vatican are nearing an agreement on a longstanding tax dispute over Church properties in the Holy Land, Israeli senior Foreign Ministry officials confirms.
According to law, properties that are used as houses of prayer are exempt from property taxes, but the churches, which own vast tracts in Jerusalem, are required to pay for buildings they own that are not used for worship – including hostels, guest houses and schools. The total amount of unpaid property tax amounts to roughly NIS 300 million, with the Latin Patriarchate the biggest offender, a city spokesman said.
Source: Jerusalem Post: March 16th 2009.
False teachers fight in Church in Jerusalem
Fists flew at a church service in Jerusalem after a long-running feud between Greek and Armenian Orthodox priests erupted in violence. Israeli police and troops struggled to bring the brawl under control as clergy members clashed at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the walled city. The faithful kicked, punched and lashed out at each other with candles at the revered spot where Catholics and Orthodox believe Jesus was buried and resurrected. Several followers were left with black eyes, bruises and cuts as priests tried to tear their rivals’ robes off in the brawl. But such are the rivalries that the church keys have been entrusted for centuries to two Muslim families.
Source: Among many: Sky News: November 10th, 2008: