Senior Church officials have sent a letter to Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg expressing their disagreement and concern.
In Jerusalem, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority wanted to expand the boundaries of the Jerusalem Walls National Park to include, among other things, much of the Mount of Olives, thereby encompassing land owned by the Church. This project, which caused an outcry among Christian leaders, has finally been frozen.
According to remarks repeated by ABC News, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority said it had “no intention of advancing the plan in the planning committee and it is not ready for discussion without coordination and communication with all relevant officials, including churches, in the region”.
To express their disagreement, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, as well as Father Francis Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, and Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, together sent a letter for Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection Tamar Zandberg.
The senior representatives of the Church recall that the Mount of Olives is "one of the most sacred sites for Christianity" and denounce a "brutal" project, "under the pretext of protecting green spaces".
“In recent years, we can't help feeling that various entities seek to downplay, if not eliminate, any non-Jewish characteristics of the holy city by tempting the status quo of this holy mountain. »
The latter believe in this letter that this plan "appears to have been proposed and to be orchestrated and promoted by entities whose only apparent objective is to confiscate and nationalize one of the most sacred sites of Christianity, and to modify its nature ".
The project was to be approved on March 2 by the Jerusalem planning committee, but after protests from senior church officials, it has been frozen for the time being.
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