Jerusalem, April 1, 2020
Last week, King Abdullah II of Jordan, custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem, instructed the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a major landowner in Jerusalem, to exempt its tenants from rent for the rest of 2020.
The Waqf owns hundreds of shops, organizations, and homes throughout the city. King Abdullah’s directive benefits both Christian and Muslim tenants.
On March 28, the Jerusalem Patriarchate announced that it is making the same exemption for its tenants in the Old City of Jerusalem throughout 2020. The Patriarchate owns at least 60% of the properties throughout the entire city.
“Following the noble initiative of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, Hashemite Custodian of the Islamic and Christian Holy Sites in the Holy Land, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, today exempted all tenants of properties of the Orthodox Church within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem from rent for the year 2020,” reads the statement on the Patriarchate’s website.
“This action is taken in support of the diverse community of Jerusalem, and to enhance the steadfastness of its residents in light of the exceptional circumstances of the Coronavirus epidemic,” it continues.
His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos explained that the decision was made in order to both materially and morally support the local community “to face the difficulties associated with the Coronavirus epidemic, adding that the doors of the Patriarchate are open to every person who needs help in facing the current circumstances.”
In addition to waiving rents, the Patriarchate has also led a campaign distributing 1,200 parcels of food to residents of the Governorate of Bethlehem, and has donated $70,500 to the Jordanian Ministry of Health.