Holy Fire restrictions

On Thursday 21 April, Sabeel joined a group of Christian organizations and community leaders who filed a complaint against the Israeli police in the High Court of Justice, the supreme court of Israel. The police had notified Church leaders that they would allow only 1000 people inside the Church for the annual Holy Fire service which occurred this year on 23 April. This is more than 90% lower than the number allowed to enter in previous years which is 11,000. The Church leaders rejected this new limit and said that they would not honor it, because it is a violation of the freedom of worship.

The High Court asked the community to reach a deal with the police. But no agreement was reached. The Court made the decision that no restrictions should be imposed in the Christian Quarter because there is no reason for any restrictions. The Court decided they would allow 4000 people inside and around the Church on the day of the festivities. On the day of the Holy Fire service, many people were not allowed to access the Church. Some feel that the police were more violent with the community because of the High Court decision. Even diplomats and community members were not respected and were badly treated by the police.