01 November 2008, 11:02
Russian Orthodox Church says seizure of real estate in Jerusalem is
Moscow, November 1, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate has severely
criticized the decision of the Tel Aviv authorities to seize real
estate from the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem.
Russian media reported recently that Jerusalem City Hall ordered the
seizure of the lands of the St. Peter monastery in the old city of
Jaffa in the suburbs of Tel Aviv explaining the decision in terms on
tax arrears. Lawyers for the Russian mission said that the mission
received no tax notifications, because they were sent to a wrong address.
"This tax story is the result of shortcomings in the work of Tel Aviv
municipal authorities. It has no legal grounds, because religious
organizations in Israel are exempted from taxes," deputy head of the
Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations Bishop
Mark of Yegoryevsk told Interfax-Religion on Saturday.
Bishop Mark, who earlier served in the Russian Mission in Jerusalem,
this situation bears "an element of provocation and blackmailing of
the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission."
"This is a kind of racket on behalf of the Tel Aviv City Hall," the
31 October 2008, 12:24
Israel seizes real estate owned by the Russian Orthodox Church
Moscow, October 31, Interfax - The Tel-Aviv Municipality and the Real
Estate Tax Department have seized lands owned by the Russian Orthodox Church.
The reason is the accrued tax in amount of 12.5 million shekels
(almost 3.5 million dollars), Noviye Izvestia daily writes Friday.
The arrest applies to the land and all buildings located on it.
Attorneys Joram Aselman and Boris Lamper who represent interests of
the Russian Church mission in Israel assert that the Moscow
Patriarchate should be exempt from tax, as it is a religious organization.
The attorneys state that the lands have been used for religious
purposes only from the moment of their purchase. They forwarded to
the Tel-Aviv Mayor's Office a document specifying that the territory
in question of the total area of 32,000 square meters enjoys a
"special status" from 1941, and the agreement on the lease of 10,000
square meters for the term of 98 years by the Tel-Aviv Mayor's Office
concluded in 1988.
Besides, according to the attorneys, the Russian Church received no
notices of tax payment, because such notices were delivered to a wrong address.
The newspaper states that the Moscow Patriarchate currently owns real
estate of the total area exceeding 100,000 square meters in seven
cities of Israel.