The Holy Church of the Sepulchre in Jerusalem closed after a dispute over tax and a proposed land expropriation law.
I would like to start by stating that I firmly believe that Israel is a thriving democracy and an example to the rest of the world for overcoming adversity. I am proud of our longstanding relationship with Israel and the strong ties between our two countries in a wide range of areas, including trade and investment, innovation and technology, as well as defence and security.
I have been assured by Ministers that both the British Embassy in Tel Aviv and Consulate General in Jerusalem are following the consequences of the decision to close the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem closely.
It is very welcome news that the church reopened after three days of closure and I warmly welcome the Government of Israel's reaffirmation of its commitment to freedom of religion. Furthermore, I believe the suspension of tax collection and the creation of a group to reach a solution to the issue of municipal taxes are both positive steps and I am hopeful that this team can work constructively with the Head of the Churches, in addition to ensuring that all Church bank accounts are unfrozen by the Municipality.