Issue of visa wavier for Armenian pilgrims raised with Israeli Minister

The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem has raised the issue of lifting visa requirements for Armenian pilgrims with Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation Zakhi Hanegbi, Chancellor at Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem Hovnan Baghdasaryan said in a Facebook post.

The issue was discussed at a meeting on September 13 which also featured the Greek Orthodox Patriarch and the Custos of the Holy Land Francesco Patton.

The meeting covered issues of concern for the Christian communities, particularly the Knesset bill on church lands and the Jerusalem City Hall decision to tax the church properties.

Mr. Hanegbi said the bill had been recalled and would not be put on a vote. He said a new bill will be drafted, which will not threaten the church lands.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City remained closed for three days in February to protest against Israeli tax measures and a proposed law.

The decision to call off the protest came after the Prime Minister’s office announced  that it was suspending the tax collection and freezing the legislation until a newly formed committee headed by Regional Cooperation  Minister Tzachi Hanegbi could work out the issues with the churches.

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