MembersTo Whom Has the Church Sold Its Land in Jerusalem?

A clandestine real estate deal between the Greek Orthodox Church and anonymous buyers has Israel worried.

By Israel Today Staff |

Over the last year, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem has sold more than 200 properties in Jerusalem’s expensive residential neighborhoods to a mysterious group of entrepreneurs. An atmosphere of unrest has overtaken the residents of the Talbiya, Rechavia and Nayot neighborhoods. Of additional concern is the fact that in just 35 years, the lease on the currently-Jewish-inhabited properties in these areas will expire.

 A few years after the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) leased these properties from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate for a limited period of 100 years. Houses and apartments were built on these plots, which in turn were rented to Jews by the JNF. When the lease agreements expire in 2052, the Jewish owners will have to either re-purchase their homes or vacate the premises. In the meantime, the real estate values of these properties have been plummeting. The uncertainty is frightening the owners, as no one knows what will happen after the leases signed by the JNF expire.

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