By Michael Hernandez
A group of bipartisan and bicameral MPs struck Israel for a bill that began with the Israeli parliament that Christian leaders warned it would reduce the presence of believers in Jerusalem.
The Christian leaders of Jerusalem say that the "Law of Residents' Rights" refers to the expropriation of church property in the holy city.
The bill, which was introduced by Rachel Azaria, a member of the Israeli parliament Knesset, for Kulanu's centrist party, would allow properties in Jerusalem previously sold by the Greek Orthodox Church to private developers to be surrendered to the state, effectively nationalizing them.
The group of eight parliamentarians from the House of Representatives and the Senate sent a letter Monday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who protested against submitting the bill to Knesset, saying he was "worried that this bill threatens the sustainability of the historic Christian presence in Jerusalem."
The letter, signed by Sen. Chris Van Hollen and the representatives of Robert Aderholt, Gus Bilirakis, Anna Eshoo, Jeff Fortenberry, Andy Harris, Randy Hultgren and James McGovern, was first reported by Jerusalem Post.
None of the law offices of the Anadolu agency addressed the letter-seeking requests.
The legislators said that "the impact of this bill will fall almost entirely on the properties of the church."
"The resulting loss of church resources through provisions requiring church property to be subjected to nationalization would make it impossible for churches to continue to serve in the wider community," they wrote to the administration to "do everything in its power to work with the government of Israel to resolve this issue and ensure a sustainable resolution. "