Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) - The long tug-of-war on some buildings of the Holy City between the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Jewish organization Ateret Cohanim has not yet reached its conclusion: in recent days - the Israeli press informed - a judge of the Jerusalem District Court questioned a previous ruling by the Supreme Court that seemed to have definitively accepted the claims of the Jewish group, and opened de facto the possibility of initiating a new trial on the controversial issue of disputed property.
The three buildings in question are located in the Christian quarter of the Old City, near the Jaffa Gate.
Last June (see Fides, 13/6/2019), the Supreme Court of Israel had rejected the appeal presented by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem to block the acquisition - denounced as illegitimate - of the three buildings by Ateret Cohanim. According to the judgment pronounced by the Court in June, the properties of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate had legitimately been acquired by foreign intermediaries acting on behalf of Ateret Cohanim.
After the pronouncement of the Supreme Court, 13 Patriarchs and Heads of Churches and Christian communities present in the Holy Land declared in a joint statement that the initiatives of the Jewish association Ateret Cohanim aimed at grabbing real estate in the Christian part of the Old City of Jerusalem represent an attack "not only on the property rights of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem", but also on the status quo that regulates relations between the different religious communities in the Holy City, and risk becoming a "threat" to the local Christian presence. The three buildings in question are the subject of legal disputes lasting a total of more than 14 years (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 5/12/2019)