Photo Credit: Anna Caulfield McKnight via Wikimedia
Jaffa gate circa 1910, with the Amdursky Hotel on the right.

The High Court of Justice dismissed the Greek Patriarchate’s demand to overturn a ruling ordering the transfer of buildings it owned in the Old City of Jerusalem, to the Israeli Ateret Cohanim organization, a final judgment putting an end to the sprawling saga.

The judges rejected the Greek Patriarchate’s appeal of the district’s decision not to hold a retrial on the sale of the property at the Jaffa Gate (Sha’ar Yafo).


After an 18-year-long battle, the court on Thursday ruled again that the Greek Orthodox Church must honor a 99-year lease of three church properties it signed with the Ateret Cohanim organization in 2004.

View of Hezekiah’s Pool from the Petra hotel Hotel inside Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on March 29, 2022. Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

This ruling is considered by all sides to be another victory for organizations working to boost the Jewish presence in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Patriarchate rejected the ruling as “unfair, and not following any legal or logical basis.”

The ruling will allow Ateret Cohanim to resume its efforts to evacuate the Arab tenants from two of the large hotel buildings it purchased.

The Hotel Imperial, Old City of Jerusalem. Photo: Elron Zabatany/TPS

Ateret Cohanim purchased the buildings near the Jaffa Gate for a 99-year lease which is renewable for an additional 99 years, through three front companies.

The Church claimed that former Church finance director Nikolas Papadimos was unauthorized to make the sale and was bribed by the Israelis.

However, several Israeli courts ruled that the Church failed to provide sufficient evidence to support their allegations.

Imperial and Petra hotels in the Old City of Jerusalem

The Hotel Imperial and the nearby Petra Hotel currently occupy the buildings.

Related Articles:

Finally, Ateret Cohanim Takes Possession of Old City Hotel It Won in Court

Court Confirms Sale of Greek Church Old City Hotels to Ateret Cohanim

Report: Ateret Kohanim Offered $4.5 Million for Jaffa Gate Hotel – Got it for $500K

Greek Church Leased Petra Hotel to Jews in 1903, Sold It to Jews in 2005, Lost Suit to Get It Back in 2019

Jerusalem Court Sides with Ateret Cohanim Vs. Greek Church on 3 Major Purchases

Court Again Rules that Israeli Purchase of Greek Orthodox Church Property in Jerusalem is Legal


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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.