The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, which is the second-largest landowner in Israel, secretly sold off 700 dunams (172 acres) of land in Caesarea last month, including the ancient Roman amphitheater and hippodrome there, for an undisclosed sum to an ambiguous Caribbean-based holding company called Saint Ventures Limited.
The Caesarea deal included large portions of land designated as a national park, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Sunday.
Earlier in July, the church also secretly sold 500 dunams (123 acres) of property in some of the wealthiest neighborhoods of Jerusalem to private real estate companies, placing homeowners at risk of needing to pay large sums to renew their leaseholds or to sell their property and relocate.
In addition, on Tuesday the Patriarchate was reported to have sold land in Tel Aviv, including its iconic clock tower, to private investors.
The clock tower deal was first initiated in 1998 when the patriarchate sold a 99-year lease for $1.5 million to a company called “Clock Quarter,” conditional upon a pledge that the company would give the church 35 percent of anything constructed on the land, according to Calcalist.