Putin said to ask PM to prevent transfer of church properties to settler group

During their earlier meeting, Russian Presiden Vladimir Putin asked that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prevent the transfer of Greek Orthodox Church buildings in Jerusalem to a Jewish settler group, the Ynet news website reports.

Ateret Cohanim, a religious-Zionist organization that works to populate the Old City and other East Jerusalem neighborhoods with Jewish residents by purchasing properties from non-Jewish owners, sought long-term leases to the disputed properties via shell companies in 2004, setting off years of legal wrangling between the two sides.

The church last year filed its current lawsuit in a bid to overturn a Supreme Court decision upholding the sale of the leases. The Patriarchate claimed that it had “clear proof” of corruption in the deal.

 

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