Israel postpones decision on church land account



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Israel postponed discussion on a bill that would allow the state to seize church lands that were sold to private developers.

Under pressure from church leaders, the Israeli government on Sunday froze the debate over the litigation project. Israel's churches have repeatedly blocked legislation, claiming that this could allow Israel to expropriate valuable property.

The bill's sponsor, lawmaker Rachel Azaria, says church leaders have misinterpreted the bill. She says she is trying to protect thousands of residents living in buildings built on leased church lands.

Azaria says residents may face huge increases in prices or even evictions from private developers when lease contracts expire in the coming decades. Uncertainty caused property values ​​to plummet.

Azaria says she hopes to reach an agreement with the churches in the coming weeks.

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