Expropriation of Sect’s Property Declared Illegal by High Court

The Supreme Court today declared illegal the expropriation of property in Zichron Yaacov belonging to a German Christian sect and ordered the local town council and the Haifa Regional Planning Committee to pay IL 5000 in court costs. The Interior Ministry was also cited in the ruling.

The three judge panel expressed sharp criticism of the expropriation of property consisting of eight dunams which was purchased four years ago by Mrs. Emma, Berger, a resident of Stuttgart, for use by her sect and a smaller plot, bought from Mrs. Dora Schwartz who ran a boarding house.

Justice Zvi Berinson called the expropriation a “malicious plot” intended to wrest the land from its legal owner “by any and all means” because she is German. Justices Haim Cohn and Moshe Etzioni stressed in their ruling that the law does not prohibit the purchase of land by foreigners even if they are known to be engaged in missionary activities.

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