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.
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