Greek Orthodox Patriarch spreading 'Fake News' about Jerusalem?

Opinion: Head of Jerusalem's Greek Orthodox Patriarchate should stop spreading distortions about "illegal land grab" by Jews in Old City.

Joseph Frager, MD ,

Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem
Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem
iStock

The Petra And Imperial Hotels in the Old City of Jerusalem were legally purchased by Jews in 2005. A legal challenge was brought by the Greek Orthodox Church. On June 3rd the Supreme Court of Israel rejected an appeal from Patriarch Theophilos lll, Head of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem against three real estate companies as well as former Patriarch Irenaios who had been dismissed in disgrace in 2005 after the sale was disclosed. The petition claimed that Irenaios sold several properties on church owned land to Jews without the proper authority to do so. It is important to realize that it is not unusual for the Greek Orthodox Church to sell or lease lands in Israel to Jews. The Knesset which is Israel’s Parliament stands on leased land from the Greek Orthodox Church.

One of the three properties in dispute was the Petra Hotel which Irenaios leased out for 99 years with an option for another 99 years to Ateret Cohanim.

After a long and drawn out court battle the present Patriarch Theophilos lll lost and has gone on a public relations junket to try to win in the court of public opinion. He was in Washington last week speaking to Senators and Congressmen spreading falsehoods and distortions calling it a land grab by Jews. The Supreme Court of Israel is the last word on the subject and most know that the Supreme Court is generally Left leaning. To give a ruling in favor to Ateret Cohanim means that the arguments and proceedings had to be air tight and rock solid for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the sale as final and binding.

The ruling was not only regarding the Petra Hotel but also its neighbor the 40 Room Imperial Hotel.

The Petra Hotel is immediately on the left when one enters the Old City from the Jaffa Gate. It functions as a hostel with stores on the ground level. The Imperial Hotel is right next to it as one walks toward the “Shuke”.

The Petra Hotel was built in the 1840’s in front of the Tower of David. The builder was a wealthy Jewish merchant from Gibraltar named Yosef Amzaleg who was also involved in the purchase of Petach Tikva, Rishon L’Tzion And Neve Tzedek near Tel Aviv. From 1903 to 1931 the Hotel was leased by Yerachmiel Amdursky.

Among its guests were Rabbi Yosef Yitzhak Schneerson, the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe, Herbert Samuel the 1st High Commissioner for Palestine, And David Ben Gurion’s son, Amos, who celebrated his Bar Mitzvah there.

The Imperial Hotel has hosted famous guests such as Kaiser Wilhelm ll in 1898, and General Edmund Allenby who after winning the battle for Jerusalem in 1917 addressed crowds from the Imperial’s balcony.

Patriarch Theophilos lll should cease and desist. The Supreme Court of Israel has to be respected by all parties. President Trump whose family helped Jews purchase Properties in Sheepshead Bay and Forest Hill upon which Synagogues were built that stand to this day should tell the Patriarch to stop spreading “fake news” about the Jews of Jerusalem.



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