Why is this significant? Shouldn’t everyone pay their taxes?
This law would apply to space owned by churches not exclusively used for worship, including gathering space outside of worship sanctuaries, community centers, schools and other places where social services for the elderly, orphans and other vulnerable populations are provided for little or no cost. This law would also apply to commercial properties owned by the churches. Paying back taxes would place a serious financial strain upon the churches and may cause them to shutter their services, and their doors, completely. In some cases this is actually double taxation, because occupants already pay the same tax.
Although collecting church taxes would surely benefit the Jerusalem municipality and the Israeli government, it is in direct contradiction to the almost 400-year-old Status Quo, and poses a threat to the existence of Christianity in the Holy Land. See this op-ed, co-authored by CMEP’s executive director, Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, for an explanation.