Israel planning to nationalize Greek Orthodox land in Jerusalem

Israel planning to nationalize Greek Orthodox land in Jerusalem

Israeli justice minister Ayelet Shaked is planning to propose a law aimed at nationalizing land belonging to the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem to prevent the eviction of residents living on these lands by developers, Israeli newspaper Globes reported on Thursday.

According to the article, the bill seeks to nationalize the land that the Greek Orthodox Church leased to the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in the 1950s. The land was then sub-leased for 99 years to the residents.

Globes said the Greek Orthodox Church sold the land to Israeli developers who plan to evict the residents from their homes. 

The bill was first proposed last year but was put on hold while talks between developers and the residents continued. It came back to the fore after these talks broke down, the paper said.

With the bill, the Israeli state would gain ownership of the land in exchange for compensation for the contractors.

Over the years, the Orthodox Church has sold prime assets to private investors in a bid to pay back accumulated debts.

Shaked said she intends to introduce the bill, prepared by lawmaker Rachel Azaria, in the ministerial committee for legislation on Sunday.

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