Protection of Holy Places Law, 1967:
On 27 June 1967, Prime Minister Eshkol again addressed the spiritual leaders of all communities and assured them of Israel's determination to protect the Holy Places. On behalf of the religious dignitaries present, His Beatitude Benedictos, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, replied. On the same day, the Knesset passed the Protection of Holy Places Law, 1967. Texts of the statements and the Law follow:
I. Statement by the Prime Minister:
It is my pleasure to inform you that the Holy Places in Jerusalem are now open to all who wish to worship at them - members of all faiths, without discrimination. The Government of Israel has made it a cardinal principle of its policy to preserve the Holy Places, to ensure their religious and universal character, and to guarantee free access. Through regular consultation with you, heads of the communities, and with those designated by you, at the appropriate levels, for this purpose, we will continue to maintain this policy and to see that it is most faithfully carried out. In these consultations, I hope that you will feel free to put forward your proposals, since the aims that I have mentioned are, I am certain, aims that we share in common. Every such proposal will be given full and sympathetic consideration. It is our intention to entrust the internal administration and arrangements of the Holy Places to the religious leaders Of the Communities to which they respectively belong; the task of carrying out all necessary procedures is in the hands of the Minister of Religious Affairs.
II. Reply by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch:
We have heard with pleasure of the free access to the holy sites and we deeply appreciate your kind wish... I believe that I speak on behalf of all my brothers and fellow leaders here tonight if I say that we are pleased with the behaviour of the Israeli army. All of its men have shown us kindness and a willingness to serve us. Everybody has displayed respect for the Holy Places and churches...
III. Protection of Holy Places Law, 5727-1967
Protection of Holy Places.
1. The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places.
(a) Whosoever desecrates or otherwise violates a Holy Place shall be liable to imprisonment for a term. of seven years.
(b) Whosoever does anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of five years.
Saving of laws.
3. This Law shall add to, and not derogate from, any other law.
Implementation and regulations
4. The Minister of Religious Affairs is charged with the implementation of this Law, and he may, after consultation with, or upon the proposal of, representatives of the religions concerned and with the consent of the Minister of Justice make regulations as to any matter relating to such implementation.
5. This Law shall come into force on the date of its adoption by the Knesset.
Yaakov S. Shapiro
Minister of Justice
Shneur Zalman Shazar
President of the State