Sunday, February 11, 2007


According to Ha'aretz, Israel is demanding rights to first refusal when the Eastern Orthodox Church sells property:
"Israel is demanding that the Greek Orthodox patriarchy conduct a census of all church property in Israel and the Palestinian territories ahead of its sale or long-term lease, and to give Israel the first right of refusal on the property.

"Israel is also asking that the property purchased by Jewish organizations in the area of Jerusalem's Jaffa Gate will 'remain in the hands of the Israeli lessees,' according to a document obtained by Haaretz.

"The document bears the signature of attorney Renato Yarak, a former senior State Prosecution official. Yarak, the former head of High Court petitions in the State Prosecutor's Office, and another attorney, Rami Mugrabi, said cabinet minister Rafi Eitan gave them the document on January 18.

"Eitan is a member of the ministerial committee dealing with matters pertaining to the patriarchy.

"The two attorney's represent Theophilos, who was elected patriarch by the Greek Orthodox Synod about a year and a half ago, and who has since then been working to obtain Israel's recognition as patriarch."

I'm not a huge fan of modern countries claiming the right to approve of religious leaders. I'm even less of a fan when those countries attach conditions aimed at making a land grab, as the article goes on to suggest is happening in this case.


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