Israel: Protests against sale of Orthodox Church property

Muslim and Christian Israeli Arabs yesterday held a protest in Haifa against selling Orthodox Church property in Jerusalem and other areas to Jews, Al-Resalah newspaper reported.

The Council of the Palestinian Orthodox Sect called for the protest after news leaks about property being sold – reportedly by Patriarch Theophilos III – to Israeli Jewish sides had been leaked.

Senior officials from the Muslim and Christian Arab community in Israel, including MK and faction leaders took part in the protest. They accused Patriarch Theophilos III of selling the property and called for him to be toppled and for the Orthodox Church to be liberated from  Greek domination.

MEMO has previously published full details of the secret sales of Orthodox Church property.

Documents obtained by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz appear to show an unknown company purchased a three-story office building in King David Street in Jerusalem for only $850,000 – lower than the expected cost in such a desirable area.

Read: Israel to vote on annexing illegal West Bank settlements

Another deal has also included the sale of an area of 2.3 dunums (0.0023 square kilometres) in the Al-Baqaa neighbourhood of Jerusalem for $350,000; an extremely low valuation for the highly sought-after area.

Elsewhere in the region, some six dunums (0.006 square kilometres) near the Clock Tower square in Jaffa, consisting of dozens of businesses, has been sold for a mere $1.5 million and 430 dunums (0.43 square kilometres) in Caesarea, including large parts of the national park, were sold for only $1 million.

Whilst the reason for the numerous sales and the low prices remain a mystery, sales records show that the areas sold have meanwhile been resold to another company, which is registered in a tax shelter. As the purchasers are foreign companies in tax havens, it is impossible to acquire any information about the new owners.

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