The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland reaffirmed its presence in the Holy Land amid concerns about the value of its investments there.

The Kirk will continue to operate a church guest house and Scots Hotel in Jerusalem and St Andrws Tiberias as well as the multi-faith Tabeetha School in Jaffa.

The Very Reverend Dr John Chalmers convener of the World Mission Council told the Assembly that the hotel and guest house had returned an operating profit of more than £2 million over the last 10 years, and the council was recommending the church maintained its presence there. “in any other part of the world we would not be making such recommendations” he said, but argued the Kirk could make a contribution to finding a peace.

This was disputed by Jo Elliot, elder at Edinburgh Greyfriars who argued the millions of pounds sunk into the hotel and guesthouse would have achieved considerably more if invested elsewhere. However the assembly rejected a counter motion put forward by Mr Elliot disputing the value of the properties in funding the Church’s work with vulnerable communities.

The Assembly also voted to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism and its guidelines.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council put forward the proposal, and noted that “antisemitic incidents in the UK are at a record high for the third year in a row”. His motion said adopting the definition would “aid the Church in challenging antisemitism”.

Rev Peter J Macdonald urged commissioners instead to set up a working group to draw up a definition and guidelines specifically for the Church. 

Rev Louis Kinsey urged commissioners to support adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism saying rejecting it would “send a wholly negative message to the Jewish community.”