MOSCOW, April 9. /TASS/. The Kremlin is counting on Israel to remain committed to its decision to transfer the Alexander Metochion in Jerusalem to Russia.
Commenting on the decision by the Jerusalem District Court to suspend Russia’s renewal of registration for that property after a lawsuit was launched by an organization, known as the Orthodox Palestine Society in the Holy Land, that is unlawfully occupying the grounds, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov recalled that “during his recent visit to Israel, Vladimir Putin thanked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the decision to transfer that compound.”
“Israel’s friendly stance was very much appreciated by both Russian believers and the church. As far as we understand, difficulties have now arisen because of the judicial appeal by one of the parties against that. Of course, we hope that Israel will remain committed to its decision to transfer that metochion. That’s very important to us,” Peskov emphasized.
On January 23, Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection and Co-Chairman of the Russian-Israeli intergovernmental commission Ze’ev Elkin said that Israel had begun the legal process of registering the Alexander Metochion in the name of Russia in response to Moscow’s request.
On April 7, The Marker Israeli newspaper reported that the Jerusalem District Court had suspended the registration until the lawsuit hearing was completed.
The Alexander Metochion is located in the Old City of Jerusalem in close proximity to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Threshold of the Judgement Gate and the Church of St. Alexander Nevsky are located on its territory. The land for its construction was purchased by Russian Emperor Alexander II in 1859. The compound was built by the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society in 1896. The controversy surrounding its ownership began after the 1917 Revolution in Russia.