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Israeli Supreme Court Rules on Church Property Dispute

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11 Jun 2019 (All day)
Israeli Supreme Court Rules on Church Property Dispute
Israel’s Supreme Court issued a ruling Monday which rejected an appeal by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem to overturn the sale of three properties in Jerusalem’s Old City to the Jewish group Ateret Cohanim in 2004. The sales, which were made through a third party intermediary based in another country, were ruled to have been conducted properly despite the Church’s assertion that the church's director of finance Nicholas Papadimas had conducted them without proper authorization from the Patriarch, Irenaios.

In its ruling, the court overrode allegations that Papadimas had been bribed to advance the deals, which in addition to the political sensitivity of the issue were also criticized for being poor business decisions due to the market value of the properties, which were assessed to be significantly higher than the value of the deals eventually signed.

Escelating Air Campaign Against Syria’s Idlib Province
An ongoing air offensive against the last remaining rebel groups opposed to the regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad, which are now concentrated in the northeastern province of Idlib, intensified on Monday with at least 25 people reportedly killed and many more wounded. Turkish officials have expressed concern that the offensive might spark yet another mass exodus of refugees from Syria into its regional neighbors.

BDS Movement Suffers Massive Setbacks
The movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered several defeats this week including the announcement of a major new innovation lab. The French/Japanese transportation manufacturing conglomerate Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance launched its innovation lab at Atidim Business Park in Tel Aviv Monday in partnership with the Israel Innovation Authority. “I believe that this center can serve as a role model for the future innovation labs that we will have in Israel,” said IIA CEO Aharon Aharon.

In related news, Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry revealed this week that in the past two years, intelligence provided by Israel regarding ties between terrorist organizations and BDS-promoting nonprofits in the US and the EU has led to 30 such organizations having their financial accounts closed by various banks and online fundraising platforms. “Our efforts have drastically undermined the boycott campaign, leading to it having much less finances to operate with, and being barred from receiving financial services,” Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said.

Labor Party Leader Will Not Seek Re-Election
The ongoing saga of the Labor Party, which dominated Israel for generations but has seen its popular support dwindle in recent years took another turn on Tuesday morning when incumbent chairman Avi Gabbay announced that he would not seek another term in upcoming party primaries but would instead step down on 2 July. Referring to the latest general election in which Labor dropped from 24 Knesset seats to 6, Gabbay said "The direction was already clear the night of the last election but big decisions must not be made in a time of a storm, so I waited until the issue would be relevant to decide and make an announcement."

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