Church of the Holy Sepulcher 311.
(photo credit: Travelujah)
All sides declared victory Wednesday in the dispute over the Jerusalem
Municipality’s support of concerts due to take place in churches next
The Jerusalem Opera Festival, which will open in the beginning of
June, will include some 30 chamber and vocal concerts to take place in 10 of the
city’s historic sites and churches.
Last week, the haredi and
national-religious deputy mayors demanded of Mayor Nir Barkat that the city
withdraw its support of the event, following which the mayor met with Rabbi of
the Western Wall and Holy Places Shmuel Rabinowitz on the topic.
Jerusalem Municipality is removing its sponsorship of the churches event,”
Deputy Mayor Yossi Deitch (United Torah Judaism) declared on
“We were outraged, since there is a halachic problem for Jews
to enter churches,” he explained. “Holy sites, of any type, should be above such
“The city should not support events that are contrary to Jewish
law,” Deitch continued. “Rabinowitz explained to Mayor Nir Barkat the halachic
prohibition to enter churches. If an individual chooses to enter a church, that
is their right. But the municipality should not be a funding and encouraging
Asked exactly what kind of support – fiscal or otherwise – the
city would not be providing, Deitch said that “the municipality was never meant
to give money to the event, which will be funded by the tickets sold, but the
logo of the city will be removed from the publications advertising it,” he
It was only at the end of March that the municipality was at odds
with its haredi and religious members over the Jerusalem Old City flavors
festival, which included non-kosher eateries in the Christian and Muslim
quarters. At the end of the day, the supervision over the kosher booths was
heightened, nonkosher establishments were clearly marked as such, and no beer
was sold in the Jewish Quarter.
Regarding the church music, the city said
that there would be no change whatsoever in the plans.
initiated by the Israel Opera and produced by them will take place as planned in
the Sultan’s Pool and a variety of other sites around the city, with the support
of the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Jerusalem Municipality” and a
variety of ministries and other bodies, the municipality said in response to a
query regarding reports in the haredi media that the city was pulling its
support of the event.
“It is no secret that united Jerusalem is home to
Jews, Christians and Muslims. The city of Jerusalem and the Israeli
government are committed to act with sensitivity and take into account all of
the populations, publics, visitors and tourists in the city,” the municipality
“It should be noted that cultural events in churches took
place during the terms of previous mayors Olmert and Lupoliansky. Not promoting
the Christian and Muslim sectors of the city would bring to claims from around
the world that the Israeli government and the municipality do not care about all
the city’s citizens, only the Jews. The Municipality agreed to the request of
Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Places Shmuel Rabinowitz to examine the issue
of the presence of the city’s logo on the publications for the church events
that have yet to be issued, this is of course without impairing the essence of
the events,” the announcement ended.
Sources close to the event predicted
that Barkat would decide to not remove the city’s logo.