The church land dilemma

To sell or not to sell, that is the question...

By ALYSSA FRIEDLAND
August 11, 2016 17:05
3 minute read.
Ratisbonne Monastery

Ratisbonne Monastery. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 
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The issue of church land is rooted in the 1800s when the Greek Orthodox church and other Christian churches in Jerusalem started buying large tracts of land outside the Old City walls in the areas that are now Rehavia and Talbiyeh. Once the neighborhoods were built up, the churches agreed to grant 99-year leases for the land. Since these leases were signed in the 1950s, most of them will be expiring around the year 2050.

According to current law, once the lease expires, owners who built on that land are not entitled to any compensation, and by law, the land and the buildings automatically revert back to the ownership of the church.

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