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Demonstrators decry church property transfer to Israel

DEMONSTRATORS DECRY CHURCH PROPERTY TRANSFER TO ISRAEL

Hundreds took part in a Saturday protest in Jerusalem to demand the resignation of Theophilos III, patriarch of the Orthodox Church, amid reports he had ceded church property to Israeli ownership.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Saturday, church council member Uday Bacali alleged that Theophilos had illicitly transferred ownership of church property in Jerusalem's Old City -- two hotels and another building -- to Israel.

"We [Orthodox Christians] don't want Theophilos and his team in the patriarchate," said Bacali, who took part in Saturday's demonstration.

He went on to note that, along with Orthodox Christians, the protest had been attended by numerous Muslims.

Ayman Odeh, head of the Arab Joint List in the Knesset (Israel's parliament), also attended the demonstration, where he described the alleged property transfers as "a national issue, not a religious one".

The event was the largest demonstration to be held in Jerusalem since July, when The Times of Israel first ran a story about the alleged property transfers.

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