Putin demands Russia gain control of Jerusalem church as promised

The Jerusalem Post reports: “Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that Israel grant his country control of the Alexander Courtyard in Jerusalem as the previous Israeli government had promised, in a letter delivered to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday.

Putin’s letter came barely a day after the Foreign Ministry in Moscow slammed Foreign Minister Yair Lapid for accusing Russia of war crimes in Ukraine, saying that Israel is using Ukraine to cover up for its own conflict with the Palestinians. The Russian Foreign Ministry also summoned Israeli Ambassador Alexander Ben Zvi for a reprimand on Sunday.

Transferring the ownership of the church land could cause diplomatic trouble for Israel at a time when its Western allies have been sanctioning Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

The Alexander Courtyard, also known as the Alexander Nevsky Church and the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, is in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Putin that Russia could take over the landmark in 2020, as one of a series of gestures meant to help free Naama Issachar, an Israeli woman held in a Russian jail on drug charges. Soon after, Israel’s Land Registry commissioner listed the Russian government as the owner of the church…”

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