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  • Halacha
  • Christianity and Islam

Heter for giving money to Christians to build holy sites

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Rabbi David Sperling

Iyyar 18, 5781
Question
Is there a Heter for giving money to Christian organizations to build churches in Israel today? Is it elaborated on anywhere?
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. The issue of giving money to Christian’s to build churches in Israel is certainly an issue that is addressed in halachic literature. There are two major issues – firstly, donating to Christian churches. This will depend very much on what type of Christianity is involved, and what the money is donated for exactly. For example, there are major difference between Churches where the worshippers bow to statues, to those that have no statues at all. Also, there are differences between donating money to build the Church sanctuary itself, or the parking lot. These issues are discussed by Rav Henkin zt”l in his responsa B’nie Banim, volume 3, 36 (available, in Hebrew, online for free). The next issue is the prohibition of “lo techonaim”, which obligates us to (amongst other things) not give idol worship “a hold” in the holy land of Israel. See for example, the Rambam, laws of idol worship, 10,3. This too is has much discussion amongst the latter day Rabbis. I hope this is a good start to your further learning. Blessings.
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